SKOWHEGAN — A 24-year-old Madison man has been indicted on a manslaughter charge in connection with a fatal crash more than a year ago in which police said he was passing cars at 80 mph on a back country road in Starks.

Jonathan Cayford is charged by a Somerset County grand jury for his alleged role as the driver of a car in which another Madison man was killed and two others were injured in the crash on Anson Road in Starks on Nov. 13, 2015.

An indictment is not a determination of guilt but rather indicates that a grand jury has found there is enough evidence to proceed with a trial.

The charge is a Class A felony, punishable by up to 25 years in prison if he is convicted. He is charged with being reckless or criminally negligent in causing the death of Clint J. Briggs.

Cayford was arrested at Inland Hospital in Waterville at 12:01 a.m. Friday on a warrant based on the indictment. Somerset County Sheriff Dale Lancaster said his department had information that Cayford was visiting at Inland Hospital. The Waterville Police Department found Cayford at the hospital and Deputy Sheriff Cpl. Gene Cole arrested him and took him to the Somerset County Jail in East Madison.

Lancaster said the investigation took more than a year because of the amount of evidence to sift through.


“Investigations take time,” Lancaster said. “Gathering evidence, processing evidence, return of evidence results, discussions, more follow-up investigation, decisions, and working within the District Attorney’s schedule.”

District Attorney Maeghan Maloney agreed, saying that motor vehicle fatalities take longer to investigate and involve more up-front prosecution work before starting in the criminal justice system.

“Before starting a case like this, we wait for every piece of evidence,” Maloney said in an email Friday. “We know the charge itself changes someone’s life so we want to be sure that we can prove the case beyond a reasonable doubt.”

Briggs, 21, a passenger in a car driven by Cayford, was found dead at the scene, the Somerset County Sheriff’s Office said at the time.

Cayford, driving westbound, was passing a line of other westbound vehicles at a high speed when he went off the road, according to the sheriff’s department.

Deputies at the scene estimated Cayford’s speed at 80 mph. The release said that as the vehicles he was passing approached a corner in the road near the intersection of the Olde Ferry Road, Cayford lost control of the 1998 Nissan Maxima, striking several trees.


Briggs was not wearing a seatbelt, the sheriff’s department said, and evidence gathered at the scene indicated speed and alcohol may be contributing factors in the crash.

Cayford was taken to Redington-Fairview General Hospital in Skowhegan after the crash. A 17-year-old female passenger, who was in the front seat, was taken by LifeFlight of Maine helicopter to Eastern Maine Medical Center in Bangor. Her name was not released.

Cayford is being held on $5,000 cash bail or $50,000 worth of property with a condition that he not possess or use of alcohol. He was scheduled to make his initial court appearance by video from the jail Friday afternoon, according to Lancaster.

The crash that resulted in Briggs’ death came the same night shortly before a Norridgewock man was killed when he was hit by a pickup truck in Solon. Joshua Sincyr, 31, of Norridgewock, who was walking in the road, was killed when he was hit by a pickup truck driven by Seth Burns, 18, of Embden, according to a news release at the time from the Maine State Police. No charges ever were brought by the district attorney in that accident, Lt. Mark Brooks, commander of State Police Troop C Barracks in Skowhegan, said Friday.

Doug Harlow — 612-2367

[email protected]


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