A 76-year-old man who was struck by a car that plowed into baseball field bleachers at Deering Oaks park has died, Portland police said Monday.

The victim, whose name has not been released pending notification of next of kin, was taken to a local hospital with serious injuries after he was struck Sunday afternoon. He later died of his injuries, said Lt. Robert Martin.

The driver of the vehicle, 29-year-old Jonathan Burt of Lisbon, has been charged with manslaughter, reckless conduct with a dangerous weapon, operating under the influence (drugs), violating conditions of release and operating without a license. Police said Burt and his passenger were treated for overdose symptoms following the crash.

The incident happened around 5:20 p.m. Sunday when Burt drove his car into the park and through a set of bleachers behind home plate at the baseball field, then entered a nearby playground area adjacent to the Deering Oaks tennis courts. No children were hurt but some playground equipment was damaged.

Burt was not identified publicly by police until Monday afternoon. He was arrested after the crash, while his passenger was released.

Cumberland County District Attorney Jonathan Sahrbeck said Burt made an initial appearance in court Monday and confirmed the charges against him. The case will next go to a grand jury on the felony charges, including manslaughter. Burt was not required to enter a plea Monday. Sahrbeck said the court set his bail at $50,000.


Burt has a long criminal record in Maine dating back more than 10 years. Since 2009, Burt has been charged with criminal violations that include operating under the influence, theft, assault on a police officer, disorderly conduct, domestic violence assault, and violating a protection from abuse order. He has also served time in jail, but not for more than 30 days, according to his state criminal history record.

Witnesses described seeing the victim flying through the air after the car slammed into the stands.

“Scariest thing I’ve ever seen,” Michael Thibeault, an eyewitness, wrote in a Facebook post. “Stopped at Deering Oaks today to watch some live baseball. Thirty minutes later I saw a car jump the curb and come screaming into the park. Thankfully, I was able to get out of harm’s way in time.”

Staff Writer Megan Gray contributed to this report.

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