LEWISTON, Maine — An attorney for the family of 56-year-old Lorna Nugent killed Sunday by a hit-and-run driver on Route 302 in Casco issued a statement Friday criticizing statements attributed to the man charged in the incident.
Jeffrey E. Smith Jr., 28, of Sebago is charged with leaving the scene of a personal injury accident resulting in death, a Class C felony. At his first court appearance Wednesday at the Cumberland County Judicial Center, family members told the Portland Press Herald that Smith thought he had hit a deer.
“Our family is suffering the worst pain anyone can imagine,” the family said in Friday’s statement, issued by attorney Michael Bigos of Lewiston. “Mr. Smith, you say you thought you hit a deer. We don’t believe you. Your attempts to shift blame are shameful.”
Bigos is acting as the family spokesman and expects to represent them in a civil action against Smith.
“Stop avoiding the truth,” the statement continued. “With your actions and your words you took a mother, aunt, sister, daughter, grandmother, cousin, and niece, and now you are trying to take her voice. We won’t let that happen. We will speak for her and we will fight for justice.”
Smith reportedly was drinking and using drugs at a party prior to allegedly striking Nugent, formerly of Milo.
The affidavit filed Wednesday included statements from a woman who said she was in the car when it hit Nugent. The woman said she remembers the impact of hitting something in the road and Smith saying he had hit a deer.
She said Smith told her that he had to get rid of the car.
The car was found at a cabin off State Park Road.
According to court documents, multiple witnesses said Smith was drunk when he got behind the wheel of his girlfriend’s car. Detectives allege Smith and several other people were at a home on Route 11 the day of the crash.
Smith was seen drinking and “shooting ridlin,” an apparent reference to the prescription drug Ritalin, the affidavit said.
A picture provided in court documents showed what investigators said was the cracked windshield of the Volkswagen Passat he drove. Those documents said the victim’s hair and blood could be seen lodged in the shards of glass.
Smith remained Friday at the Cumberland County Jail, held on $25,000 cash bail.
In convicted, Smith faces up to 5 years in prison and a fine of up to $5,000.
WGME contributed to this report.