OAKLAND, Maine (NEWS CENTER) — The final chapter for the family of the 17-year-old who died in a hayride crash at Harvest Hill Farms has come to an end; the family says they have settled the civil lawsuit against the farm owner.
Cassidy Charette was killed on October 11, 2014 in a haunted hayride at Harvest Hill Farms. More than a dozen others were injured when the jeep towing a hayride jack-knifed and flipped over.
The family's attorney announced Wednesday that the wrongful death lawsuit against Harvest Hills Farm former owner Peter Bolduc Jr., the hayride driver David Brown, and mechanic Philip Theberge has been settled.
The Charettes filed the wrongful death lawsuit in July 2016 at Kennebec County Superior Court.
Last November, Peter Bolduc Jr. admitted criminal negligence when he pleaded guilty, on behalf of the farm, to a felony charge of driving to endanger.
Investigations of the crash revealed the rear brakes of the Jeep pulling the hayride did not work, its front brakes were not functioning properly, and the jeep was hauling more than double its intended towing capacity, among other hazards.
The defendants attorneys Jonathan Brogan released a statement saying:
"On behalf of the defendants they continue to grieve about this tragic accident and the loss of Cassidy and the injuries to others on the hayride. They all hope that resolution of this matter helps, in some small way, continue the healing foe everyone."
The family says the money from the settlement will support the charity they established two years ago in honor of Cassidy. The ShineOnCass Foundation encourages young people to get involved in volunteering in their communities.
Cassidy was a top academic student in her junior class at Messalonskee High School athlete when she died as a result of the 2014 hayride incident.
Since her passing, a slogan, "#ShineOnCass," has emerged, providing a common phrase friends, family and community members can collectively remember Cassidy through. #ShineOnCass has since been featured on bumper stickers, athletic uniforms, t-shirts and throughout social media.
In a statement the family said:
“The absence of Cassidy in our lives will never heal with time or accountability. Nothing can bring her back. This tragedy has changed the way we all view our existence, the time we have here, and how we spend it.
We wish to thank all who have and continue to carry us and give us hope. We are eternally grateful to friends and strangers alike, who honor Cass by shining her light and their own.
It is our intent to not just continue the love and light of Cassidy, but to propel her kind spirit, and her hopes and dreams of making a difference, far into the future. We are the keeper of her light.”
The family says in the less than two years, more than $200,000 have been given to various charities that were close to Cassidy's heart and to community projects.