SPRINGVALE — A Rhode Island man accused in a fatal crash that killed his friend appeared in Springvale District Court on Tuesday to face a charge of manslaughter.

Christopher M. Bennett, 20, of Johnston, R.I., was charged with manslaughter and operating under the influence following an incident that began on the University of New England campus in Biddeford and ended with a crash into a utility pole early Sunday morning. Anthony Ciccone, 20, of Pepperell, Mass., was killed.

Bail on Tuesday was lowered from $300,000 to $25,000 cash. Bennett did not enter a plea during the proceeding.

Biddeford police said they were contacted Saturday night by university security staff for assistance in dealing with two intoxicated men creating a disturbance in Sokokis Hall. The two men were not students but were looking for a 21-year-old male friend who lives in the residence hall, said Deputy Police Chief JoAnne Fisk. She would not release the name of the friend.

University security personnel were not able to stop the two men from driving and they left campus and headed toward the center of Biddeford, according to police. A vehicle with a matching description – a dark Ford Explorer with Rhode Island license plates – was spotted speeding on Pool Street but police lost sight of it.

Another officer reported the vehicle crashed into a utility pole on Pool Street as it was headed downtown. Ciccone was taken to Southern Maine Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead.

Fisk said Bennett and Ciccone had arrived in the area on Friday. The continuing police investigation will look into what the two had been doing between then and the crash and how they got access to alcohol, Fisk said. The accident reconstruction is still going on and it will likely be a week to 10 days before it is complete, she said.

FIsk said police did not yet have the blood-alcohol level test result for Bennett.


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