Man Dies in Police Custody After OUI Crash

Nada Surf Press Photo
Courtesy of Nada Surf

A New Hampshire man died in custody Sunday morning after police say he crashed his car on a Massachusetts highway while on drugs Saturday night.

Police say Roger Gasangwa of Dover crashed on I-495 northbound shortly before 9:30 p.m. Police arrived and determined he had been driving under the influence of narcotics.

EMS responded, but the 34-year-old driver refused to be treated.

When he was booked for OUI and other drug and driving offenses, police say he answered questions coherently and said that he had not been injured. State police did not report seeing any visible injuries.

According to police, Gasangwa was put in a cell around 12:30 a.m., being checked just after 1 a.m. and just after 1:30 a.m. All three times, police say he was breathing normally.

Gasangwa was found unresponsive when a trooper checked just after 2 a.m. Responders treated him in the cell and rushed him to Anna Jacques Hospital in Newburyport. He was airlifted from there to Massachusetts General Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

After investigating the cell, police say they found a brown powder and a small piece of rolled paper. Troopers are working to determine how the substance got inside.

At the scene, a K-9 unit from Amesbury Police found drug paraphernalia with suspected drug residue.

Police have not said what type of drugs Gasangwa had taken.

Police say an investigation is underway. The Office of the Chief Medical Examiner of Massachusetts will work to determine the cause of death.

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