Suspect In Fatal Dartmouth Hit and Run Held on $25K Bail
NEW BEDFORD — A bail hearing for the man arrested in connection to a fatal hit and run on Route 6 in Dartmouth, which killed 33-year-old Westport resident Stasha Lynn Faria, was held at New Bedford Third District Court on Wednesday.
A California man who had recently been residing in Westport, 58-year-old Natalie Vieira is ordered held at $25,000 cash bail and faces charges of leaving the scene of personal injury and death, unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle and driving an unregistered motor vehicle. The court says if Vieira is able to post his bail payment that he will wear a GPS monitoring device, cannot drive a motor vehicle, and must turn over all existing passports.
Judge James McGovern set the bail amount based on the seriousness of the charges and text messages provided by the prosecution. The texts were sent by Vieira to family members in California before his arrest in an apparent attempt to flee Massachusetts and avoid prosecution.
Assistant District Attorney Matt Silvia of the Bristol County District Attorney's Office is presiding over the prosecution for the case.
Silvia says that on the day of the incident, authorities responded to the area of 653 State Road in Dartmouth in the early evening in regards to reports of a pedestrian left injured from a car that had fled the scene. He then says that when police arrived, they located Faria, who was already deceased. Police determined that Faria was walking eastbound along the side of the roadway when she was struck from behind and killed. It is still unknown if Faria was walking on the sidewalk or in the street when she was struck.
The prosecution says that police sent out a press release on March 5th that included the description of the vehicle, a 2007 Chevrolet Uplander, and that the vehicle may have damage to the front-passenger side. Police received tips the following day that helped them locate the vehicle at Mike's Auto Body in Fall River, and then arrested Vieira after tracing the vehicle back to its owner Rosa Piexoto, Vieira's cousin.
A narrative of the arrest, written by Dartmouth Police Detective Kyle Costa, was also presented by prosecutors. In the narrative, Costa details that Dartmouth Police was able to obtain Piexoto's address, 106 Highland Avenue in Westport, after speaking with the owner of Mike's Auto Body. Upon arrival to the residence state troopers and Dartmouth Police were able to identify and speak with Piexoto and Vieira.
According to the report, Piexoto confirmed to Detective Costa that she had sold the Chevrolet Uplander to Mike's Auto Body. When asked by Costa why she sold the vehicle, Piexoto said it needed to get fixed and referenced the front end damage to the car. Costa's narrative then says, “When I asked her how the vehicle was damaged, she stated that Vieira hit something last weekend.”
Costa says that Vieira at first denied Piexoto's disclosure of events, but then later admitted during a recorded interview at Dartmouth Police Headquarters that he in fact had been operating the vehicle during the time of the incident. The report then says when Vieira was asked if he remembered striking anything that night, he stated that “though he/she saw something quickly pass in front of him/her, he/she thought that he/she struck a 'light pole'.”
Vieira then told officers during the interview that he didn't stop because he had “panicked," and says he then turned around on State Road and drove home. Based on the collective facts and statements, Dartmouth Police placed Vieira under arrest.
Before the originally scheduled hearing date on March 8th, Vieira turned over his legal representation to Defense Attorney Don Crotty in lieu of using a public defender. Crotty requested just a $500 bail, arguing that Vieira has no criminal record, has been a U.S. citizen since 1984, and that based on his salary as a chef at UMASS Dartmouth cannot afford a $25,000 bail.
Vieira is also transgender and identifies as male. He calls himself “Nate” or “Marcos.” Crotty argued that since Vieira has been transitioning for from a female into a male for about five years, and requires a weekly hormone shot, that being jailed would impede on his ability to get the shot.
Members of Faria's family were present at the hearing, with her mother able to be seen weeping in the front row of seats open to the public.
Vieira's next scheduled court appearance is set for April 10th.