A 22-year-old described as "the best of the scholar athletes" at his university had been out with friends to celebrate New Year's Eve when he got separated from them—and somehow ended up lying in the middle of an unlit road in Chatham, Mass., police say. That's where Garrett Gagne was early yesterday when a young police officer, driving in what the police chief calls an "expedited" fashion to respond to a nearby business's burglary alarm, accidentally ran him over around 4am; Gagne was in the center of Crowell Road's southbound lane. The officer, whose name has not yet been released, immediately stopped, called for assistance, and tried to help, but Gagne was later pronounced dead at a hospital, the Boston Globe reports. As NECN notes, it's not clear what condition Gagne was in before he was struck.
"We do know they were drinking alcohol, but to what extent, we couldn’t say at this point," says Police Chief Mark Pawlina. Gagne's friends expressed shock: Gagne, a senior at New York's St. Lawrence University, was a star lacrosse player and high school ski-racing champ who "took really good care of himself," says one of his classmates and close friends. "It wasn’t like him to drink too much or to be by himself. The whole thing is very bizarre." The officer was driving a police SUV; though it's not clear whether he was going faster than the street's 30mph speed limit, Pawlina says that wouldn't have been unreasonable given the call. The officer was not injured, but is "very distraught and very upset," Pawlina tells the Boston Herald. (In another New Year's tragedy, a man watching fireworks in his yard was struck and killed by a stray celebratory bullet.)