BANGOR, Maine — A South Berwick man was indicted Wednesday by the Penobscot County grand jury in the Jan. 30 hit-and-run death of a University of Maine student in Orono.
Garrett Cheney, 22, was indicted on charges of manslaughter, aggravated criminal operating under the influence of intoxicants, leaving the scene of an accident that resulted in serious bodily injury, and criminal operating under the influence of intoxicants.
He is scheduled to be arraigned at the Penobscot Judicial Center on May 20.
Cheney, accompanied by his attorney, William T. Bly of Biddeford, surrendered April 16 at the Orono police station. The defendant is free on $50,000 surety bail.
“Garrett maintains his innocence,” Bly said Wednesday. “This case is far from over. In reality, it’s just begun. It will be interesting to see what hard physical evidence they have. You can be sure that it will be vigorously challenged.”
A records check with the Maine State Bureau of Identification showed Cheney has no criminal history.
Cheney allegedly struck and killed Jordyn Bakley, 20, of Camden about 3 a.m. Jan. 30 in front of 15 Middle St. in Orono near her apartment. He was driving on the wrong side of the street when he struck Bakley, who was killed instantly, according to court documents.
Bakley was a 2007 graduate of Camden Hills Regional High School in Rockport and a competitive swimmer for the school. Bakley shared a house with other students at 27 Middle St.
Her body was found about 5:30 a.m. Jan. 30 by a Bangor Daily News deliveryman.
According to an Orono police affidavit filed at the time of his arrest, Cheney was in Orono on Jan. 29 visiting a cousin to celebrate the younger man’s 21st birthday.
After allegedly hitting Bakley, Cheney headed south on Interstate 95. His 2003 Chevy Silverado went off the highway about 3:30 a.m. in Etna. The damaged pickup was towed to the storage lot of a Newport towing firm.
Cheney was not injured but was charged with drunken driving. His blood alcohol level was 0.15 percent, nearly twice the legal limit, two hours after his truck left I-95, according to the affidavit.
A witness who lives at 38 Middle St. told investigators on Feb. 5 that Cheney had been at his house on Jan. 30 and had been drinking. Cheney’s cousin also told police the same day that he and Cheney had been drinking on Jan. 29 at bars in downtown Orono.
The cousin told police that he had expected Cheney to spend the night with him and help him move furniture on Jan. 30. He said Cheney called him between noon and 1 p.m. Jan. 30 to say he was at a hotel after crashing his truck into a tree and had been charged with drunken driving, the affidavit said.
On Feb. 5, investigators learned that Cheney’s truck was still in the towing company’s storage facility. It was impounded and taken to the crime lab in Augusta, according to Almy.
Orono police, Maine State Police detectives and crime lab technicians were able to match evidence retrieved at the scene of the hit-and-run with Cheney’s Silverado and Bakley’s injuries, Almy said. Portions of the broken grille recovered at the scene of the hit-and-run matched the grille on Cheney’s truck, according to the affi-davit.
If convicted of manslaughter, the most serious crime with which he is charged, Cheney faces up to 30 years in prison and a $50,000 fine.