Hayride victim’s parents call for vehicle inspections

Monica and Randy Charette, the parents of a 17-year-old teenager who died during a haunted hayride in the fall of 2014, continue to call for comprehensive mandatory inspections of the vehicles used in such attractions in Maine.

The Charettes were featured in an article today in the Bangor Daily News, about a legislative task force convened to review hayride safety.

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. Her family is represented by attorneys Jodi Nofsinger and Daniel Kagan of the Berman & Simmons law firm. Criminal charges are pending against Harvest Hill Farms, Inc. the driver of the Jeep, and a mechanic who worked on the vehicle.

The Maine Legislature last year created a task force to review the safety history and concerns related to hayride attractions, and to make recommendations on whether additional regulations are needed.

The task force was created after Rep. Robert Nutting, R-Oakland, submitted a bill known as “Cassidy’s Law,” which would require state inspections for vehicles used for hayrides in which people are charged money to ride, similar to the inspection law for carnival rides. Cassidy’s Law was essentially put on hold as the task force was assembled to review the issues. However, the task force has apparently not yet convened, despite the fact that its report to the Legislature is due on Feb. 1, according to the Bangor Daily News.

Click here to read the whole article. Here’s an excerpt.

The Charettes said that they hope any proposed legislation also considers enforcement and progressive discipline for “willful violations.”

“Cass and her friends were innocently enjoying time together, doing what parents would perceive as a safe and appropriate activity for their teens,” her parents said. “Ultimately, our greatest hope is that people will become educated and more aware of the potential dangers of seemingly harmless activities, where safety should be a reasonable expectation.”

Attorneys Nofsinger and Kagan have filed notices of claim with 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.

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