[Story originally posted at 12:18 p.m. Updated at 12:51 p.m.]
Darriean Hess, the teen driver who caused Saturday's fatal crash that claimed the lives of Elise Bouchard of Danvers and Pamela Wells of Hamilton, was ordered held on $50,000 bail at her arraignment on Wednesday morning.
Hess, 19, of 80 Washington St. in Seabrook, N.H. is charged with two counts of Class B felony negligent homicide and two Class B felony counts of second-degree assault for her role in Saturday's collision, which killed two bicyclists.
Hess has claimed the crash occurred after she took her eyes off the road while traveling over the Neil R. Underwood Bridge in Hampton, N.H. at a high speed, although she was silent during her video arraignment Wednesday, often looking down or at a Rockingham County House of Corrections monitor displaying Judge Mark Weaver.
Tony Naro, Hess' attorney, requested $15,000 cash or corporate surety bail, and asked Weaver to impose complete house arrest if Hess was able to post bail. Naro said Hess isn't a flight risk because she has "no criminal record whatsoever" and because she didn't leave the area after Saturday's crash, even though she wasn't actually arrested or charged until Tuesday.
"Her family — her core — is here in Seabrook," said Naro, who said Hess has aunts and cousins in Alaska, but has siblings and a fiancé in Seabrook. "There's no reason to think she's a flight risk... My client wouldn't be able to leave this state as it is [due to the cost to do so]."
Barry Newcomb, the Hampton Police prosector, argued for Weaver to maintain the $50,000 cash bail on which Hess was originally booked.
"We’re concerned that she’s a risk to the public’s safety," said Newcomb, noting that Hess caused the crash less than eight hours after being stopped for speeding and operating without a valid license in the same area.
Naro strongly disagreed with that notion, though, using his client's frame of mind to support his request for a lesser bail amount with an option to cover the bail with a bond, which would make it easier for Hess' family to post the amount.
"She’s been absolutely grief stricken, judge," said Naro. "We need to look at the specific case we’re dealing with and not any outside pressures… She's not somebody that would be a flight risk. She's not somebody that would get behind the wheel of a car anytime soon — if ever. She’s absolutely traumatized. I think that answers the question of whether she's of risk to community."
Weaver ultimately set bail at $50,000 cash or corporate surety, citing the seriousness of the charges. He said he "agree[d] with some of the points" made by the defense, but that he "agree[s] in general" with the prosecutors and the severity of the crimes.
Hess is scheduled for a probable cause hearing in Hampton District Court at 11 a.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 8.
Click here to read details of the police affidavit and other associated court documents for the case. Click here to watch video of Hess' family and a loved one of one of the victims reacting to Wednesday's arraignment.