Frederick Garrasi III, 24, of Angola, was eastbound on the road headed for Lackawanna about 12:15 p.m. when a car driven by Lorraine Pelc, 65, of Lake View, collided with his motorcycle, according to Hamburg Town Police. Garrasi was pronounced dead a short time later. Charges had not been filed, according to Hamburg Police, but the investigation is continuing.
Garrasi, had only been on the Evans Police Department for two years and was hired as a full-time officer earlier this year. He had completed a 12-hour shift on the department's “night platoon” at 6 a.m. Friday and was to enjoy a long weekend before the accident occurred.
Evans Police Chief Ernest P. Masullo said late Friday that news of Garrasi's death shocked and saddened the young, tight-knit department, where the average age of sworn personnel is just in the early 30s.
“It crushed us,” said Masullo. “He's going to be missed big time.”
The chief said Garrasi joined the department in December 2011, while still finishing up his certification at the police academy. It was Garrasi's “dedication and love of the job” that struck Masullo and prompted the chief to hire him.
Masullo said he knew right away that Garrasi was the type of person with a strong, selfless character who would always make sure he put others' needs above his own.
“He's been just a super, super kid,” said the chief, explaining that Garrasi was ever-smiling, happy and had an agreeable personality. “He took to the job very well. Everybody loved him.”
Masullo had recently decorated Garrasi with a letter of recognition for the young officer's fine work in making a narcotics arrest during a vehicle and traffic stop.
“It was his first one,” the chief said.
There were other stories too.
“He had arrested someone and later that person had called me up and said how well he was treated by Officer Garrasi,” added Masullo, “which is saying an awful lot.”
Garrasi's “Car 50” patrol car was put “out of service” and parked in front of Evans Town Hall late Friday in his memory and the flag there was lowered to half-staff. Grief counselors will be available to officers to help them cope with Garrasi's death.
The Evans Police Department experienced a similar tragic loss just more than a decade ago. Officer Terry J. Addison, 32, died Aug. 14, 2002 after a pickup truck driven by a Hamburg teenager turned in front of Addison's eastbound motorcycle at Routes 5 and 438 on the Cattaraugus Indian Reservation. Addison was a five-year veteran of the force at the time of his death.
Funeral arrangements for Garrasi were incomplete late Friday night.