A community college student was charged with manslaughter Monday in connection with a single-car crash that killed his passenger last year.

William Blanchard of Gorham was driving the car that crashed near the entrance to Bug Light Park in South Portland in September. A Cumberland County grand jury handed up the indictment Monday, and it charges Blanchard, now 19, with recklessly or negligently causing another person’s death.

Court documents include few details. South Portland police said last year that Blanchard called 911 around 9:21 p.m. Sept. 24. The car reportedly left the road and crashed through a wooden guardrail before coming to a stop at the park entrance sign.

Patrick Donaghue, 20, of Wilton was unconscious when first responders arrived and died later at Maine Medical Center in Portland. Blanchard was not injured. Both men were students at Southern Maine Community College.

Police said at the time that speed appeared to be a factor in the crash, and Blanchard was cooperating with the investigation. The crash report indicatesBlanchard submitted to a breath test, and his blood-alcohol content was 0.0 percent. He also had a blood test, but the results are not listed.

The report describes the road conditions as dry and dark, and characterizes Blanchard’s condition at the time of the crash as “emotional.”


It is not clear from the court documents whether Blanchard has an attorney. He did not respond to a Facebook message sent Monday evening. A spokesperson said he is still enrolled at the community college.

A background check shows he does not have any other criminal record. His driving record shows that his license was briefly suspended in 2017 when he got a speeding ticket for driving 56 mph in a 35 mph zone.

He was also involved in another crash just weeks earlier on July 17, 2017. The report for that crash says that he was backing up in a left-turn lane at a four-way intersection in South Portland. His car moved into the neighboring lane and sideswiped the back of another vehicle.

Staff Writer Matt Byrne contributed to this report.

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