Bails set at $101K in fatal hit-run

A hard worker who had a big heart, Gerard Nieto should never have been left beside a highway to die, his friend said Wednesday in bond court.

Nieto, 51, of Charleston, died early Friday on Savannah Highway after the bicycle he was riding was struck by a motor vehicle that left the scene.

On Tuesday, a 32-year-old Summerville man surrendered to Charleston police and was charged with the hit-and-run death.

Jason Frank Marion of Ayscough Road is charged with leaving the scene of a collision resulting in death, and failure to exercise due care, police spokesman Charles Francis said.

On Wednesday, Magistrate Linda Lombard set bails for Marion totaling $101,092. He is being held at Cannon Detention Center.

According to warrants, Marion was driving a Ford F-150 at 1:24 a.m. Friday when the truck approached Nieto’s bicycle from behind on Savannah Highway near White Oak Drive.

After the accident, Marion did not render aid, wait for police or report the accident, warrants said.

His attorney, Francis Humphries, told Lombard that Marion is married, has a small child and is employed with a local building firm. In appealing for “moderate surety bond,” the attorney said Marion “substantially cooperated with law enforcement” when he voluntarily surrendered.

Some of Marion’s relatives and friends came to court with Humphries to support Marion.

Henry Edwards, who said he had known Nieto for 40 years, and lived and worked with him, spoke for the accident victim.

Nieto, Edwards said, worked odd jobs “and wasn’t afraid to get up in a tree with a chainsaw.”

Edwards’ 90-year-old mother was looked after and cared for by Nieto, “and she relied on him heavily,” Edwards said.

“He was a part of our family. He touched a lot of people’s lives. I hated to see him run over and left on the side of the road like that,” he added.