Cape & Islands DA's Office investigates Chatham fatal cruiser incident

Officer who was driving cruiser identified by DA
The officer who was driving the Chatham police cruiser during the fatal incident on New Year's Day has been identified as Officer Christopher Vardarkis by the Cape & Islands District Attorney's Office. David G. Curran photo.

CHATHAM - The Cape & Islands District Attorney's Office issued a formal statement Friday regarding the cruiser involved fatal incident in Chatham New Year's Day. While en route to a call around 4 a.m. Thursday morning, a Chatham police officer struck what was later discovered to be a human body on Crowell Road. The victim was identified Thursday as 22-year-old Garrett Gagne of Longmeadow. Gagne had been in town with friends during the First Night celebration. 

According to the DA's statement, the state Medical Examiner's investigation shows head trauma consistent with the body being struck while prone. 

The officer who was involved in the incident has been identified by the DA as Officer Christopher Vardarkis.

Officer Vardarkis has been with the Chatham Police Department for two years, according to the statement. His name had been withheld on Thursday at the beginning of the investigation. Officer Vardarkis is on leave pending the outcome of the investigation.

It is still unknown why the victim was lying in the roadway or how he came to be there.

The case remains under investigation by the Cape & Islands District Attorney's Office and State Police detectives assigned to the office as well as the state's Medical Examiner's Office.

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