The driver in a hit-and-run crash that killed a 56-year-old Casco woman Sunday had been drinking and doing drugs before the crash, and tried to hide the car after it happened, a witness told police.

Jeffrey E. Smith Jr., 28, of Sebago is charged with leaving the scene of a personal injury accident that resulted in death, a felony, and is being held on $25,000 cash bail in the Cumberland County Jail. The victim, Lorna Nugent, had just left a friend’s house to walk the half-mile home when she was hit and killed Sunday evening.

In documents filed Wednesday after Smith’s first appearance in court, detectives allege that Smith and several friends were at a home on Route 11 for the afternoon. Smith was drinking and “shooting ridlin,” a reference to the prescription medication Ritalin, before he and another man’s girlfriend, Karen Kelly, 48, told friends they were driving to a nearby store, detectives say.

But according to the documents, Smith and Kelly were really looking for a place to have sex. After riding to three locations, including the cabin of Smith’s brother off State Park Road, and after Kelly performed oral sex on Smith in the car as he drove, the two began making their way back toward the house where they had spent the afternoon.

That’s when Smith hit something in the road, jolting Kelly forward, the police documents say. The impact shattered the windshield of the Volkswagen Passat, which Smith had borrowed from his girlfriend.

“Oh (expletive), he’s dead,’ ” Smith said, according to the police report. Kelly, apparently confused, asked him, “What?”

Smith told her he had hit a deer. But then he began to panic.

“I’ve got to get rid of the car,” Smith said repeatedly.


They drove back to his brother’s cabin and Smith parked the car there, its windshield a spiderweb of cracks and Nugent’s hair and blood still lodged between shards of shattered glass, according to the documents. At some point, someone removed the car’s license plates.

Kelly told investigators that she didn’t learn of Nugent’s death until the next morning, when it was reported in the media.

Smith, who was on probation for two convictions in 2014 and 2015, had been scheduled to report to his probation officer Monday morning in Portland.

In a brief interview before Smith’s first court appearance, his parents, Machelle and Timothy Plummer, said that their son felt remorse for what happened, and that as soon as he found out it was a person and not a deer, he was suicidal with grief.

They said that although their son has a criminal record, he was getting his life back together and had completed multiple court-mandated counseling programs.

“He’s a good person,” Timothy Plummer said. “He’s not a monster. If he had left five minutes earlier or five minutes later, it wouldn’t have happened.”

During the court appearance, Smith’s attorney, Robert C. LaBrasseur of Portland, agreed to the bail amount suggested by the state and reserved his right to argue the matter later.

Cumberland County District Attorney Stephanie Anderson represented the state in the brief hearing, an unusual move that may signal how seriously prosecutors are taking the case.

Smith must be indicted by a grand jury before he enters a plea to the felony charge, which could be modified by prosecutors when they argue for the indictment.

Plummer said the crash occurred as Nugent ran across the road, and happened so fast that Smith thought it was a deer crossing the road.

“That’s how fast this girl was running,” Plummer said, referring to Nugent. “My son feels very bad. He knows he can’t bring her back.”

Smith’s parents stayed with him through the night, and on the advice of Smith’s attorney, drove him to the probation office Monday afternoon, when he was arrested.


In an interview Wednesday evening, Timothy Plummer said he doubts Kelly’s version of events, and called into question her credibility as a witness.

Court documents also give the first clear account of the events leading up to Nugent’s setting out on foot that night.

Nugent and her boyfriend, Jon Thompson, had been watching football and drinking most of the afternoon at a home at the corner of Route 302 and Varney Road, Thompson told police.

When Nugent said she wanted to go home about 6 p.m., Thompson offered to warm up the car and drive her. But she refused his offer, saying he had been drinking too much to get behind the wheel and she could walk the half-mile to the home they shared on Hillside Drive.

Thompson went back inside, and Nugent hadn’t walked 50 yards before the car hit her.

Thompson and two other people in the home said they heard the impact, and Thompson went out to see what happened. He found his girlfriend face-up in the westbound travel lane, the impact so great that it sent her purse sailing into a snowbank.

Police found the road littered with some of her other belongings: a purple hat, two gloves, a black boot.

The next morning, a doctor determined that the force of the crash broke her neck, crushed her pelvis, and fractured her right leg in two places consistent with where a car bumper struck her.

Officers did not do a breath alcohol test on Smith because too much time had elapsed between the crash and his arrest Monday afternoon, said Cumberland County sheriff’s Capt. Scott Stewart.


In addition to the cash amount, the court imposed conditions if Smith makes bail. Justice Joyce Wheeler ordered him not to possess or consume illegal drugs or alcohol, not to drive, and not to have contact with Kelly, the witness.

LaBrasseur, Smith’s attorney, declined to comment.

Still unclear is where Nugent was walking at the time of the crash. That section of Route 302 has a generous breakdown lane, but no streetlights, and Nugent was dressed in dark clothing – a black jacket, police reports say.

The speed limit in that section is posted at 50 mph, but traffic often goes faster.

Police were led to Smith after they found pieces of the car that hit Nugent and released to the public a description of the vehicle’s make and model year. A tip connected the car to Smith.

Court records show that Smith was convicted most recently of felony theft and felony domestic assault, in 2014 and 2015, respectively. He pleaded guilty to both charges and was sentenced in May 2015 to 18 months, with all but 60 days suspended. Smith apparently violated the terms of his probation and served two more stints of the suspended sentence, for 120 days and 30 days.

Court papers indicate Smith had struggled with alcohol and drug problems, and he had earlier convictions for felony domestic violence in Oxford County that began in 2009.

Smith’s driving record has been free of violations or convictions since 2010, according to publicly available state records.


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