Portland High School sophomore dies in Falmouth car crash

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FALMOUTH — A 16-year-old Portland High School sophomore was killed June 17 in a single-vehicle crash on Blackstrap Road.

Police said Garrett Cormier was driving south when he apparently lost control of his Hyundai Santa Fe and struck a series of trees just south of the intersection with Hardy Road. The SUV flipped onto its side and the trees penetrated the windshield and roof. Cormier was killed instantly.

“Speed and driver inexperience seem to be a factor,” police Detective Wayne Geyer said.

Geyer said Cormier only had his driver’s license for approximately six months and it was still provisional. The car was registered to his mother, Lauren Cormier, a school teacher at Lyman Moore Middle School. She discovered the accident while she was out looking for her son, who had missed his curfew.

“For the mother to come across the scene – it was crushing for everyone there,” said police Lt. John Kilbride, who sat with Lauren Cormier in his cruiser at the scene.

Kilbride said Garrett Cormier was on his way home from visiting his girlfriend when he came upon a particularly dangerous section of Blackstrap Road.

“Many people have died in accidents at that spot,” Kilbride said. “Blackstrap Road is just falling apart.”

Accident reconstruction crews from the Cumberland County Sheriff’s Department were working Friday to determine the exact cause of the crash.  Police said Cormier was wearing a seat belt and that the airbags on the vehicle deployed correctly.

“We did a test for alcohol and drugs, which is standard in fatal accidents, and we didn’t find anything to draw our suspicions,” Kilbride said.

Portland High School sent out an e-mail to parents Friday, informing them of the tragedy and letting them know the school would provide counseling services for students.

Garrett Cormier was a member of the school’s lacrosse team, however, was out this season due to an injury.

“I had to receive one of those calls you never want to receive at 1:30 in the morning,” Portland boys’ lacrosse coach Eric Begonia said. “We did have an early-morning practice. I made the captains aware. The good thing was we were together. It was tough because a lot of kids didn’t know upon arrival. Usually, as the coach I’m the rock, but I have a long-standing relationship with his family and knew the kids since they were young. Garrett used to hang out in my class. It was very difficult for me.”

Garrett Cormier’s father, Joseph Cormier, was a long-time custodian at Portland High School.

Begonia said Garrett, the younger of the two Cormier boys, was the classic second-born son.

“He was everyone’s friend, kind of a jokester. That’s who he was. I’m one myself. He was a fantastic friend,” he said.

Sports Editor Michael Hoffer contributed to this story.

Emily Parkhurst can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 125 or eparkhurst@theforecaster.net

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Portland boys’ lacrosse coach Eric Begonia consoles junior Pat Cormier, Garrett Cormier’s brother, following the June 19 state championship game at Fitzpatrick Stadium. The brothers played on the Bulldogs together, although Garrett missed most of the season due to injury. During the championship, Pat took the opening faceoff in honor of his brother. He won.