Cape DA: Investigation into death of Garrett Gagne is complete

Collision was unavoidable
A State Police Crash Reconstruction Team was called in to examine the Chatham police vehicle that struck Garrett Gagne early New's Year Day. David G. Curran.

Cape & Islands District Attorney Michael O'Keefe's Office announced on Tuesday that the investigation into the death of Garrett Gagne of Longmeadow is complete. On January 1, 2015, just after 4 a.m., Gagne was struck by a Chatham police vehicle on Crowell Road. According to a release from the DA's Office, receipt of the toxicology reports completes the investigation.

Gagne, 22, was lying in the road in front of 104 Crowell Road when he was struck by Officer Christopher Vardakis who was responding to an alarm call. Gagne was lying parallel with the center line in the southbound lane. Officer Vardakis's 2014 Ford Utility Interceptor drove over Gagne. Officer Vardakis then turned the vehicle around and stopped next to Gagne in the northbound lane.

Chatham Fire & Rescue transported Gagne to Cape Cod Hospital in Hyannis where he was pronounced dead. 

According to the release, there was no evidence at the scene to indicate that Gagne had been struck by another vehicle prior to being hit by the police vehicle. 

Toxicology reports revealed that Garrett Gagne was "legally impaired by alcohol" and had "illicit drugs" in his system, the release said.

The section of Crowell Road where Gagne was struck was determined to be "pitch dark" at the time of the incident. Gagne was wearing a dark blue striped flannel shirt, medium tan khaki pants and dark brown shoes. There were no mechanical issues found in the vehicle.

A collision avoidance analysis determined that the collision was unavoidable, the DA's Office said. 

Garrett Gagne had been in Chatham to celebrate New Year's Eve with friends. He was a lacrosse player at St. Lawrence University in Canton, NY.

During the preliminary investigation, it was unknown how or why Gagne came to be lying in the roadway. According to the state medical examiner's initial report, head trauma was consistent with the body being in a prone position. 

Officer Vardarkis, who had been with the Chatham Police Department for two years at the time of the incident, had been put on leaving pending the initial investigation. 


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