DA: Garrett Gagne was ‘impaired’ when run over by cop

Officer Christopher Vardarkis said to be "distraught" over New Year's accident

Garrett Gagne of Longmeadow. Image Courtesy: St. Lawrence University

CHATHAM, Mass. (WWLP-AP) – A Massachusetts prosecutor says the 22-year-old college lacrosse player from Longmeadow, who died after being run over by a police cruiser on Cape Cod, was high on alcohol and drugs.

Cape and Islands District Attorney Michael O’Keefe told The Boston Globe that Garrett Gagne was “seriously impaired” when he was run over in Chatham early on New Year’s Day. O’Keefe said Gagne had been drinking hard alcohol, but he declined to name the drugs.

Friday morning, the Cape and Islands district attorney’s office identified the officer whose cruiser struck Gagne as Christopher Vardarkis, a two-year veteran of the Chatham Police Department. Authorities say Vardarkis struck Gagne as he lay in an unlit Chatham street at about 4:00 a.m. Thursday.

Gagne was on the Cape to celebrate New Year’s Eve with friends. He was a senior government major and lacrosse player at St. Lawrence University in Canton, New York. He was a 2011 graduate of Longmeadow High School, where he excelled in lacrosse as well as skiing, where he came in first place twice in the state championships.

It remains unclear why Gagne was in the street. Vardarkis has been placed on leave during the investigation. Chatham’s police chief says Vardarkis is “distraught.”

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