A 22-year-old Longmeadow man was killed early Thursday morning when he was run over by a Chatham police cruiser.
It was just after 4:00 AM when the cruiser struck the man, identified as Garrett Gagne, a senior at St. Lawrence University in Canton, New York. Gagne was a lacrosse player who was due to graduate this spring with a degree in Government.
The cruiser was headed south on Crowell Road in response to a burglary call when it struck an "unknown object" in the road. When the officer got out of the cruiser, he immediately realized that the object was a person. The young man was rushed to a Cape Cod hospital, only to later be pronounced dead.
At this time, it is unclear why Gagne was lying in the road, but the preliminary investigation reveals that he suffered head trauma consistent with him being struck by the cruiser.
Chatham Police Chief Mark Pawlina was quoted by CBS News Boston as saying, "We don't know the circumstances yet of his condition, prior to the accident. But our investigation should provide the answers soon."
Gagne was in Chatham celebrating the New Year with friends, some of whom were seen departing the police station around midday on Thursday. They had no comment for the media.
"We do know they were drinking alcohol, but to what extent, we couldn't say at this point," said Chief Pawlina.
Mike Mahoney, Gagne’s college lacrosse coach, said, "Garrett was close to all of us on the team – A leader, mentor, and friend. His smile and enthusiasm were contagious. He could light up the field and sidelines with his personality. This sudden and shocking loss touches every one of us who knew him as one of our best."
William L. Fox, the President of St. Lawrence University, said, "Wisdom and meaning seem impossible right now in the midst of our immediate, heart-breaking sadness. We must, of course, give our best and most loving thoughts to Garrett's family and friends in a day of such sudden deep grief. When our campus community returns from break, we will plan a gathering to honor Garrett's memory."
Gagne had attended Longmeadow High School, serving as captain of both the ski racing and lacrosse teams. He was twice the Massachusetts State Champion in ski racing, as well as a three-time All-Scholastic award recipient.
The police department is declining to release the name of the police officer, but Chief Pawlina described him as a young patrolman who has been on the force for a little more than two years.