Cassidy Charette’s family disappointed by hayride safety report

Monica and Randy Charette, the parents of a 17-year-old girl who died during a haunted hayride in the fall of 2014, are disappointed in the findings of a state task force that was assembled to consider possible regulation of vehicles used in farm attractions.

The Hayride Safety Stakeholders Group, led by State Fire Marshal Joseph Thomas and Maine State Police Chief Robert Williams, reported to the Legislature that it would not be feasible for the state to regulate farm amusement rides.

Cassidy Charette was riding on a wagon that went out of control and flipped at Harvest Hill Farms in the town of Mechanic Falls on Oct. 11, 2014. Cassidy was an honor student and a gifted athlete at Messalonskee High School in Oakland, Maine. The Charette family is represented by Berman & Simmons attorneys Jodi Nofsinger and Daniel Kagan.

In a statement, Monica Charette, Cassidy’s mother, expressed the family’s disappointment, but focused on all the positive work that continues to be done in Cassidy’s memory.

“Cassidy is not in this report. She cannot be reduced to words or works. Her spirit is too big and her light is infinite. The words, ‘Shine On Cass’ have become a call to action for people to help others, spread kindness and shine their own light. She is proud. We are so grateful. And we hope it never ends,” Monica Charette said. You can read the full statement below.

The Charettes will continue to advocate for comprehensive mandatory inspections of the vehicles used in farm attractions in Maine. Attorneys Nofsinger and Kagan stand behind them in this effort. The attorneys have sent notices of claim — the precursor to formal lawsuits — to several corporations that operate as Harvest Hill Farms as well as the farm owner and the operator of the Jeep. Criminal charges are pending against Harvest Hill Farms, Inc. the driver of the Jeep, and a mechanic who worked on the vehicle.

Click on the links to read or view coverage of this story.

Portland Press Herald “Task force: State doesn’t have ability to regulate hayrides

WGME TV “Report states Maine can do little to regulate hayrides

WMTW TV “State group says hayride regulations not feasible

Lewiston Sun Journal “Hayride victim Cassidy Charette’s family disappointed by state report

Statement from Cassidy Charette’s mother, Monica Charette of Oakland, Maine

April 5, 2016

“We are disappointed in the findings of the stakeholders. We are pleased that the conversation brought important awareness to the potential dangers of seemingly harmless activities where safety should be a reasonable expectation. There should be a Cassidy’s Law if it could spare even one life and one family from this experience.

Our focus today, as it has been since Oct. 11, 2014, is on the love and light surrounding Cassidy and our community.

Cass was a unique human being in the way she shared genuine kindness with everyone around her. Our community is keeping her spirit alive and shining her light in more ways than we can count.

In the past 18 months, people have helped build “Cassidy’s Kitchen” for kids attending Hart-to-Hart Farm; started a service program of “Cassidy’s Kids” at Mount Merici Academy and support youth mentoring at “Bowl for Cassidy’s Sake.” This month, a second Big Brothers Big Sisters program will open at the Alfond Youth Center in Cassidy’s honor, changing the lives of 140 kids. And much more.

Cassidy is not in this report. She cannot be reduced to words or works. Her spirit is too big and her light is infinite. The words “Shine On Cass” have become a call to action for people to help others, spread kindness and shine their own light. She is proud. We are so grateful. And we hope it never ends.”

Cassidy Jean

Cassidy Charette

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