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Family of Girl Killed in Hayride Crash Files Lawsuit


The parents of a 17-year-old girl killed in 2014 in a hayride accident are suing the owner of the farm where the accident happened.

Cassidy Charette of Oakland was killed at Harvest Hill Farms, and 22 other people were injured, when a Jeep pulling the hay wagon went out of control and flipped over.

Attorney Jodi Nofsinger, who is representing the Charettes in the wrongful death lawsuit, says the tour operators likely knew the 1979 Jeep was not safe.

“The investigation has revealed that the brakes on the Jeep in question had not been receiving basic maintenance, perhaps for a long period of time. This death was completely preventable if the defendants had taken some basic safety precautions we all take with our vehicles,” she says.

The lawsuit also claims that the Jeep was towing 5,400 pounds — more than twice its towing capacity.

Nofsinger says the real point of the lawsuit is to hold people responsible and to shine a light on state policies that mean farmyard amusements aren’t regulated.

“Farm rides are not inspected by the state of Maine. And if there are businesses that are operating in this way, honestly we all have a right to expect that we’ll be safe when we go on hayrides around the state,” she says.

The company, the driver and the mechanic have been indicted on criminal charges; Harvest Hills owner Peter Bolduc, Jr., hasn’t been indicted. Nofsinger says the suit could take a year or more to go to trial.

Nora is originally from the Boston area but has lived in Chicago, Michigan, New York City and at the northern tip of New York state. Nora began working in public radio at Michigan Radio in Ann Arbor and has been an on-air host, a reporter, a digital editor, a producer, and, when they let her, played records.