A mechanical failure may be the cause of a fatal hayride crash that claimed the life of one teen and seriously injured at least 22 others ranging from 10 to 50-years-old.
Gauntlet Haunted Night Ride, owner of the hayride, is a separate business on the property at Harvest Hill Farms in Mechanic Falls, Maine. The hayride rollover happened during an event called The Gauntlet, a scary hayride through woods that includes spooky, fun house ghosts and goblins that jump and scream at riders. The activity is part of Pumpkin Land, a venue featuring a variety of Halloween-themed activities in Mechanic Falls, about 30 miles north of Portland, Maine.
The hayride opened on October 3. Harvest Hill Farms has been closed indefinitely pending further investigation of the accident. Event spokesman, Scott Lansley, said David Brown, 54, the driver of the hayride, has been released from the hospital. Lansley stated that Brown was an experienced trucker with a commercial driver’s license.
WMTW TV reports that 17-year-old Cassidy Charette died in the accident after the haunted hayride she was on with several other students from Messalonskee High School in Oakland, Maine lost control. Ms. Charette has gone to the Harvest Hills Farms for the last 5 years to enjoy the fall festivities, and died of head injuries caused by the crash of the hayride.
Authorities believe that brake failure may be at fault for the accident. The vehicle, a 1979 Jeep CJ5 pulling the hayride trailer, lost control at about 8:30 p.m., careened down a hill, hit a tree, and overturned.
The Inquisitr writes that The Fire Marshal’s Office licenses mechanical amusement rides in Maine, but the hayride did not require a license. Authorities believe this is the first hayride incident of its kind in the state.
According to Yahoo! News, the crash threw everyone off the hayride trailer into each other, into trees, and is responsible for the serious injuries sustained by most of the guests on the hayride. Sgt. Joel Davis of the State Fire Marshal’s Office stated the hayride injuries included “broken bones, broken leg bones, femur bones, broken backs, shoulder injuries, ankle injuries, scrapes, cuts, and head injuries.”
Messalonskee High School Principal Jon Moody has arranged for grief counselors to work with students throughout the week. The school has also helped arrange a fundraiser for the high school’s junior class, and a celebration for the life of classmate, Cassidy Charette.
John Wallace, a spokesman for the Harvest Hill Farms, said, “Our thoughts and prayers are with the injured and their families.”
[Image Patrick Whittle]