AUBURN — A Mechanic Falls business where a haunted hayride crash cost a 17-year-old girl her life two years ago is scheduled to plead guilty to a related felony charge next week.

But a prosecutor said Monday that the hearing is premature because there is no agreement yet that has the consent of the many victims involved in the Oct. 11, 2014, incident.

A hay wagon at Harvest Hill Farm on Route 26 filled with nearly two dozen customers careened down a steep slope during The Gauntlet haunted hayride, struck a tree and overturned, spilling its passengers into the woods.

Although business owner Peter Bolduc Jr. wasn’t indicted by an Androscoggin County grand jury in connection with the crash, his business was charged — in an unusual action — with manslaughter, aggravated assault, aggravated driving to endanger and reckless conduct.

Three weeks ago, prosecutors dismissed a sole charge of reckless conduct against the farm’s mechanic, Philip Theberge, 39, of Norway who was expected to testify at the trial of Harvest Hill in exchange for immunity from prosecution. That trial is scheduled for later this month.

At the same time the charge was dropped against Theberge, two of the four charges against Harvest Hill, including aggravated assault and reckless conduct, also were withdrawn by prosecutors.


On Monday morning, clerks at Androscoggin County Superior Court scheduled a felony hearing in the case for Nov. 9.

Contacted later in the day, Assistant District Attorney Andrew Matulis said, “The parties are engaged in possible plea negotiations, but there is no deal at this point because we’re still talking with all of the parties who were affected.”

Defense attorney Michael Whipple echoed that assessment, but with a more upbeat spin.

“We’re in the throes of negotiations and we’re optimistic that we’ll reach an agreement that will meet everybody’s needs,” Whipple said.

David Brown, 56, of South Paris, the driver of the jeep that pulled the hay wagon during the fatal hayride, was acquitted of a charge of misdemeanor reckless conduct after a four-day jury trial in Sagadahoc County Superior Court jury in Bath in September.

Bolduc testified at Brown’s trial that he never noticed any problems with the brakes on the Jeep, which he used around the farm as his primary vehicle.


Cassidy Charette, 17, of Oakland died in the hayride crash; Brown was injured along with most of the passengers.

Brown said his brakes had given out suddenly on a steep hill on the ride; prosecutors said his brakes hadn’t been adequate to the task and that he should have been aware of the risk but ignored it.

The Harvest Hill trial is scheduled for jury selection on Nov. 22 at Lincoln County Superior Court in Wiscasset. A judge had moved the trials related to the incident out of Androscoggin County because of pretrial publicity.

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