FALL RIVER — A 59-year-old California woman who earlier this year left the scene of a fatal motor vehicle crash in Dartmouth was convicted of leaving the scene resulting in death in Fall River Superior Court, Bristol County District Attorney Thomas M. Quinn III announced.

Natalie Vieira pleaded guilty to the single count indictment on Wednesday afternoon and was sentenced by Judge Mark Hallal to two-and-a-half years in the Bristol County House of Corrections. The defendant was ordered to serve 20 months of the jail sentence, with the balance of the jail term suspended for three years.

On March 3, 2018, at approximately 7 p.m., 33-year-old Westport resident Stasha Faria was struck by a vehicle while walking eastbound on State Road in Dartmouth. She was struck by the motor vehicle from behind with such force that she was propelled in an easterly direction and hit a utility pole, causing severe head and bodily injuries. The motor vehicle that struck the victim, however, did not stop at the scene.

Police recovered evidence at the scene suggesting the motor vehicle involved was a Chevrolet Uplander from model years 2005-2009.

On March 6, police learned that a Chevy Uplander was being stored at Mike's Auto Body, located at 535 Bay Street in Fall River. The owner of Mike’s Auto Body told police he towed the motor vehicle on March 5 from a home on Highland Avenue in Westport.

When police arrived at the home where the defendant was staying with a relative and questioned the defendant, she initially denied driving the vehicle on the date of the incident. The defendant, after being pressed by investigators, later confessed to driving the vehicle. She thought she hit a light pole and didn’t stop because she panicked.

Further investigation revealed the defendant was not texting while driving and was not under the influence of alcohol or drugs at the time of the hit and run. Accident reconstruction also determined that the defendant could not have avoided or prevented the collision with the victim. The defendant was not speeding, the roadway was poorly lit and the Accident Reconstructionist opined that the victim crossed the roadway prematurely.

The case was prosecuted by Co-First Assistant District Attorney Karen O’Sullivan.

“This was a tragedy for the victim and her family. All the defendant had to do was stop, but instead she took off and left the victim in the street,” District Attorney Quinn said. “The police had to come find the defendant. There needs to be accountability.”

--Bristol County District Attorney's Office