AUGUSTA — A Pittston man charged with manslaughter as a result of a September 2015 crash that killed a Sidney teen is now prohibited from operating any recreational vehicles.

That bail condition was one of several imposed on Alexander Biddle, now 22, at his initial appearance hearing at the Capital Judicial Center Tuesday morning in a case where he is accused of manslaughter in the death of Halee Cummings, 18.

Investigators say Biddle was driving an all-terrain vehicle when it went off a driveway and into a ditch, striking several trees and ejecting and killing Cummings, a passenger, on Sept. 18, 2015, near her home.

Cummings was buried on a hill overlooking the family’s dairy farm.

Biddle had been issued a summons to appear in court on the charge and because it was his first appearance on a felony charge, he was not asked to enter a plea. A conviction for manslaughter carries a maximum penalty of 30 years in prison.

A dozen members of Cummings’ family sat together in the front of the courtroom to watch Tuesday’s proceeding.

Judge Paul Mathews agreed to unsecured bail, but included conditions requested by the prosecutor, Assistant District Attorney Michael Madigan, which included a ban on Biddle’s operating all recreational vehicles. Mathews said there was a public safety concern involved.

Biddle’s attorney, Pasquale Perrino, objected, saying it would keep Biddle off snowmobiles as well.

“You’re restricting his right to enjoy the state of Maine,” he said.

That’s when Cummings’ dad, Hardy Cummings, hollered, “He shouldn’t have any rights.”

Outside the courtroom, Hardy Cummings spoke on behalf of the family.

“I just would like to say that we’re all here for Halee,” he said. “We want Biddle to see our faces through this whole process.”

Hardy Cummings said the family “felt disrespected” when Perrino argued against the state’s request for a ban on Biddle’s operation of recreational vehicles.

During the hearing, Madigan said that facts of the case indicate that Biddle was “driving in a roadway and saw what he believed was a cruiser and took evasive action,” adding “Reckless conduct following that is what led to this accident.”

Biddle said little during the hearing, acknowledging his identity, but allowing Perrino to do almost all the speaking for him. Several members of Biddle’s family accompanied him to the hearing. He was injured in the crash as well when the ATV rolled over on him.

Biddle had been described as a friend of Halee Cummings’ brother.

Halee Cummings’ mother, Jami Paquette, said previously that Cummings had been on her way home with some friends on a trail through the woods to Shepard Road, where her father has a house. Cummings was pronounced dead at the scene.

Halee Cummings was a graduate of Messalonskee High School and enrolled at the University of Maine at Augusta. She was passionate about horse-back riding and racing and the family held a barrel racing competition in her memory last July.

Perrino also objected to an 8 p.m.-6 a.m. curfew, saying Biddle’s job sometimes started about 4 a.m.

“He’s reaching for the stars, starting to prosecute the case,” Perrino said.

The judge indicated Biddle could be out during the curfew hours for work and emergencies.

Other conditions of bail prohibit Biddle from having contact with Cummings’ family and from using or possessing alcohol and illegal drugs.

Madigan said Biddle has a prior conviction for criminal speed.

Court records show Biddle was convicted in September 2012 in Waterville District Court for motor vehicle speeding 30-plus mph over the speed limit, an offense that occurred July 30, 2012, in Sidney. He was fined $500.

After the hearing, Perrino said he has read much of the discovery material in the case and that indicated Biddle, who was 21 at the time, was not legally under the influence of alcohol at the time of the accident, meaning that his blood alcohol content was less than 0.08, the legal limit for most adults in Maine.

Perrino said it was a tragic accident.

Shortly after the crash, Maine Game Warden Steven Couture, one of the investigators, said alcohol appeared to be a factor in the case.

Biddle’s next court hearing is set as a disposition conference in April. However, the case is expected to be presented to a grand jury in the meantime. If an indictment for manslaughter is returned, Biddle would then be arraigned and asked to enter a plea to the charge.

Betty Adams — 621-5631

[email protected]

Twitter: @betadams

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