ALFRED – A Rhode Island man who was driving drunk in Biddeford when he caused a crash that killed his friend pleaded guilty Thursday and was sentenced in York County Superior Court to serve 37 months in prison.
Christopher Bennett, 21, of Johnston, R.I., was sentenced as part of a plea agreement in which he pleaded guilty to charges of manslaughter and aggravated operating under the influence of alcohol in connection with the crash on Sept. 2 that killed his passenger, Anthony Ciccone, 20, of Pepperell, Mass.
Judge John O’Neil gave Bennett a 15-year sentence with all but 37 months suspended to be followed by a three-year probation term. Bennett was also fined $2,100 and had his driver’s license suspended for 10 years, according to the York County District Attorney’s Office.
On the night of the crash, Bennett and Ciccone had gone to University of New England in Biddeford, looking for their 21-year-old male friend who lived in the residence hall, police said at the time. Neither Bennett nor Ciccone were students there.
Biddeford police were called to the university campus that night by the university’s security staff for assistance with two intoxicated men who were creating a disturbance in Sokokis Hall, police said.
UNE security could not stop the two men, who left campus and drove toward the center of Biddeford, police said. Police saw a vehicle with a matching description – a dark Ford Explorer with Rhode Island license plates – speeding on Pool Street but lost sight of it.
Another officer reported that the vehicle hit a utility pole on Pool Street as it was headed downtown. Ciccone was taken to Southern Maine Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead.
The judge also ordered Bennett to refrain from use or possession of alcohol or illegal drugs while he is on probation, submit to random searches and screenings, undergo a substance abuse evaluation and follow-up counseling and refrain from operating motor vehicles, according to the District Attorney’s Office.
Scott Dolan can be reached at 791-6304 or at: