AUBURN, Maine (NEWS CENTER) — Criminal cases involving the deadly, haunted hayride crash at Harvest Hill Farm have now wrapped up.
Seventeen-year-old Cassidy Charette died and many of the others on board were injured when the hayride crashed a little more than two years ago. Farm owner Peter Bolduc was not directly charged in the case, but his corporation was.
This morning, through his attorney, Bolduc entered a guilty to plea to a charge of driving to endanger on behalf of the corporation. In exchange for the guilty plea, a charge of manslaughter was dropped. The corporation was fined $7,500, with most of that going to charitable groups.
“Kind of the same feeling that I’ve had right from day one, which is, my thoughts and prayers continue to be with the Charette family," Bolduc said after the hearing. "That has been, and will continue to be, where my heart is."
For the first time since this tragedy happened, victims were given the opportunity to speak before the court. Most of the statements were delivered through attorneys or friends.
Conner Garland’s parents did speak, however. Garland was Cassidy Charette’s boyfriend. Cassidy Charette lost her life that night and Connor Garland suffered significant injuries.
“I don't have any closure," one said. "I am happy that he took responsibility. It's not exactly what we wanted the outcome to be, but."
Jodi Nofsinger is the Charette family's attorney. She said the guilty plea shows this was not merely an accident.
“It was finally the day where Harvest Hill Farm admitted that they were negligent, that they caused something that could've been prevented and it was a great tragedy to the lives of many people,” she said.
This was the second criminal case as a result of the crash. In September, a jury found the driver of the ride not guilty of reckless conduct.