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Sep. 21, 2019 | Saturday
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UPDATED: Accused in fatal NOTL hit-run freed on bail
Zenaida, a Mexican farm worker, was killed by a hit-and-run driver. A 21-year-old man turned himself in to police Wednesday. (Supplied Photo)

A man charged in connection with a hit-and-run that killed a 33-year-old migrant worker was freed on bail Thursday.

Patrick McCabe, 21, of Pelham turned himself in Wednesday and is facing charges of fail to stop at the scene of an accident and dangerous operation of a motor vehicle causing death, investigators said.

The vehicle believed to be involved in the collision has been recovered, police said.

The woman who died was a hard worker who travelled to Canada so she could improve the lives of her two young daughters at home in Mexico, friends and colleagues say.

The woman, identified only as Zenaida by friends, died on Monday afternoon, succumbing to injuries suffered late last Saturday when a dark-coloured Dodge Ram pickup truck struck her as she walked along Concession 7 Road in rural Niagara-on-the-Lake. The truck failed to stop after the accident, police said.

She had been walking home after a church picnic.

Zenaida was in her second season working at Tregunno Fruit Farms on the Niagara Parkway.

Marina Nava-Millin, one of Zenaida’s co-workers at the farm, said she was always an incredibly hard worker, putting in as much time as she could to support her family back home in Mexico.

Zenaida spent Saturday evening at a church barbecue, Nava-Millin said. 

Phil Tregunno, owner of Tregunno Fruit Farms, said the company is feeling the “tragic loss” this week and a lot of the workers have experienced “great sadness and loss.”

“There’s so much worry about the family back home. There’s concern because it’s such a random accident. I think everyone looks at their own mortality in something like this,” he said. “Could it happen to them and could their families be affected as a result of something like that?”

Pastoral worker Wilfred Bout said he was alerted about the accident on Saturday evening and stayed with Zenaida in hospital until the end.

“She was alone when she was hit, to my knowledge, but some workers from St. Davids saw the flashing lights, and came out and called me,” he said. He stayed with her the whole time.

Zenaida’s concern was always for her family back home, her two young daughters, ages 7 and 11, and her elderly parents, whom she also was supporting, Nava-Millin said.

Bout created a GoFundMe page to help cover the funeral costs, and to send the rest of the money to help support the family at home in Mexico.

“The support has been overwhelming,” Bout said.

The fundraiser had received more than $32,000 in donations from more than 380 people by Saturday afternoon, surpassing the goal of $30,000.

Police said the woman was walking alone on the shoulder of the southbound lane of Concession 7 Road near Line 6 just before 11 p.m. when she was hit by the southbound pickup truck. 

The driver sped off and was last seen heading south, away from the scene. A passing motorist alerted police.

Zenaida initially was taken to hospital in Niagara Falls, but was later transferred to an unnamed out-of-region trauma centre in critical condition. Bout said she was taken to Hamilton General Hospital.

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