Gavin Sorge Jr., Peter Ronchi, and Sean Kamszik died on Sept. 4, 2022, when their van was hit by another car driving 100 miles per hour. Courtesy of the Sorge family

Just after 8 p.m. on the first Sunday in September, three men from South Berwick climbed into a van to go get food in New Hampshire. They pulled out of their neighborhood and headed for Route 4.

Across the border in Dover, outside of a meetinghouse for recovery groups, six people were talking after a meeting when a Subaru came roaring through the parking lot. The driver got out, pushed two of them, yelled “white power” and waved a gun in the air. He took off before the police arrived.

Minutes later, the Subaru crossed the centerline on Route 4 and hit the van from South Berwick at 100 mph.

The horrific crash in Rollinsford, New Hampshire, on Sept. 4, 2022, killed the van driver, Peter Ronchi, 58, who was taking his grandson, Gavin Sorge Jr., 22, and Sorge’s partner, Sean Kamszik, 23, to a fast food restaurant. Kyle McGowan of Kennebunk, the 33-year-old driver of the Subaru, also died that night.

Nearly a year after the crash, the Sorge family believes more could – and should – have been done to prevent it.

“To lose one half of the household in one fell swoop is just horrifying,” said Alfred Catalfo, the family’s attorney.


Dover police arrived at the Triangle Club just after McGowan pulled out of the parking lot. Officer Ryan Anderson spotted the car as it sped toward Rollinsford. He briefly activated his emergency lights to signal the driver to stop, but McGowan continued into the neighboring town, and Andersonfollowing department policy – did not pursue him over the town line, according to Dover police reports.

One mile later came the deadly crash, which engulfed the Subaru in flames.

The Sorge family believes Anderson could have done more to stop McGowan, possibly averting tragedy, and their attorney is preparing to file a lawsuit against the city of Dover.

Catalfo argues that Anderson recklessly failed to warn the public of the oncoming danger and that the city is responsible for his conduct.

Anderson, he alleges, knew “that the lives of the public were in immediate, extreme and grave danger, yet after only very briefly activating his emergency lights, he simply shut them off and pulled over.”

“This was a quiet Sunday evening,” he said, “and they had absolutely no warning of the impending danger.”



The first call to police about McGowan that evening came from Somersworth, New Hampshire, where he allegedly assaulted a 70-year-old woman and threw bar stools inside an American Legion. He was gone when officers from that city arrived on the scene, but they notified Dover police to be on the lookout.

McGowan flew into the Triangle Club parking lot in Dover minutes later and swung open his car door into a fence, witnesses told police. One woman tapped on a window of his car and told him he needed to slow down.

Once McGowan got out of the Subaru, witnesses could see he was very intoxicated and angry, they told police. They called 911.

McGowan said something about going to jail, screamed “white power” and made a Nazi salute. He pushed two people, witnesses said, then pulled what they thought was a semi-automatic rifle from his car. He said something along the lines of, “I’m going to die tonight anyway, so it doesn’t matter,” a witness told police.

McGowan waved the gun, witnesses said, but never pointed it at anyone. Minutes later, he drove off.


“He was blackout drunk. He was not there,” a witness later told a detective. “Everyone was too scared to do anything.”

Anderson, who responded to the 911 call, spotted McGowan’s Subaru and was trying to catch up as it passed another car.

The officer later wrote in a report that he was still trying to determine if the Subaru was the one police were looking for and did not immediately turn on his emergency lights because his cruiser was behind another car on a narrow bridge.

The Subaru sped left onto Route 4 toward Rollinsford.

Anderson followed, emergency lights on, but almost immediately pulled over in front of a bank and turned the lights off. A supervisor requested he return to the Triangle Club, and dispatchers notified Rollinsford and South Berwick police that the Subaru was headed in their direction.

Anderson turned his cruiser around and headed back to the club.



Ronchi was driving on Route 4 with his grandson in the front seat and Kamszik in the back. They all shared a house in South Berwick with Sorge’s parents, Gina and Gavin Sorge Sr., and Ronchi’s wife, Sheila, who has dementia. They were a close family and enjoyed being together.

Gavin Sorge Jr. Courtesy of the Sorge family

Gavin Sorge Jr., an only child, spent his whole life in South Berwick and Eliot. He started filming his videos at age 3 and landed community theater roles by the time he was 9. He dreamed of studying film in college.

Sorge was known for his flair for fashion: He paired his signature Doc Martens with brightly colored clothes and sometimes sported a green mohawk.

“Gavin, also known as Buddy, was a special kind of soul. Anyone who knew him knew he was unique and authentically himself,” his family wrote in his obituary. “He had a big heart and accepted everyone as they were. His love for his family and friends was immeasurable. He brought so much joy and laughter to any occasion and prompted many random late-night dance parties.”

Sorge shared his love of Halloween, horror, and Elvira with his grandfather, who had worked for 35 years for the Portsmouth Department of Public Works. Ronchi – known as Pup, a nickname given to him by his grandchildren – was the rock of the family.


Ronchi found his soulmate in Sheila, whom he married in 1987. He adopted her family, including her daughter Gina Sorge, as his own and considered them his pride and joy.

Peter and Sheila Ronchi Courtesy of the Sorge family

“There are not enough words to explain how selfless he truly was. He was a kind, gentle giant, and a big softy at heart,” his family wrote in his obituary. “He will always be remembered as a big goofball, who would do anything to make his family happy or laugh.”

Kamszik, Gavin Sorge Jr.’s partner of three years, had become part of the family. He, too, was selfless, compassionate and one of a kind, his obituary said. He loved Marilyn Monroe, old movies, and fashion.

He fostered his love of makeup as a beauty consultant for Ulta and had recently begun performing in the drag community as “Nikki Misfit.”

“To Sean, appearance was everything and nothing at all. Although he would brighten a room just by entering, ultimately it was how fiercely he lifted those around him that made him truly shine,” his family wrote.

The trip out to grab a bite to eat that night was supposed to be quick.



Catalfo, the Sorge family attorney, believes officers had a chance to stop McGowan before he crossed paths with Ronchi’s van.

Gavin Sorge Jr. and Sean Kamszik. Courtesy of the Sorge family

“Had (Anderson) continued pursuit and activated his siren, McGowan would have been required to pull over and may have very well done so,” he said.

The assertion that Anderson should have continued to pursue the Subaru is unusual, said Dennis Kenney, a professor at John Jay School of Criminal Justice in New York. When it comes to pursuits, criticism almost always centers on decisions not to call them off before someone – the person fleeing, police officers, bystanders – is injured or killed, he said.

“There are only a few things that can happen in a pursuit, and most of them are bad,” Kenney said.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 532 people died in police pursuits in 2020.


Typically, police departments have policies that outline when to consider halting a pursuit because the risk it might pose to public safety outweighs the interest of immediately apprehending the suspect. Over the past couple of decades, those policies have grown more restrictive and less discretionary, Kenney said.

It may be difficult to successfully argue that continuing to pursue the suspect would have reduced the risk, Kenney said.

“I would assume the (Dover) officer involved concluded he had no real prospect of catching the person who was fleeing, or he was uncertain enough about the need to immediately apprehend that he was not willing to impose the risk on others,” he said.

Catalfo said Dover police gave him a copy of their policy for high-speed pursuits but redacted critical information.

Dover police Chief William Breault referred questions about the crash and the Sorge family’s allegations to the city attorney, who declined to discuss them.

A Rollinsford police investigation revealed that McGowan had a history of substance use and spent time in rehab in New Jersey. His roommate said he had post-traumatic stress disorder, and his boss described him as a troubled person with anger issues. His parents recently had told him they’d no longer send him money because they feared he was using it to buy drugs, according to police reports.


McGowan’s parents did not respond to messages seeking an interview left at a number listed for them in Vermont.

Investigators found psilocybin mushrooms, marijuana seeds, and blotter paper that likely contained LSD in his house. His garage was in disarray, with a table flipped over, a cabinet ripped off the wall and a tequila bottle smashed on the floor, according to police reports.

Toxicology tests later determined that McGowan had a blood alcohol content of 0.149 – nearly twice the legal limit for driving. He also had cannabinoids in his system, according to Lt. William Hancock of the Rollinsford Police Department.

The crash reconstruction showed that McGowan fully crossed the centerline into the westbound lane before hitting the Sorge family van.

Dover police Lt. Mark Nadeau wrote in a report that physical evidence suggested McGowan “was suffering from a serious and untreated substance abuse problem.”

“Why McGowan engaged in this illegal conduct in Dover and reckless driving in Rollinsford will likely never be known,” he wrote.



The investigations into the Triangle Club incident and crash are closed. But the Sorge family wants the police to provide more information about what happened.

Catalfo, who has been practicing law for 32 years, said he has never had so much difficulty getting information about a crash from police. They won’t provide details about the times that certain events happened, what information was passed on to Rollinsford and South Berwick police, toxicology reports, or mobile data system recordings, he said.

“It certainly raises red flags when the city is refusing to turn over information and stonewalling us, as they have been doing from the beginning,” he said. “It compounds the pain exponentially when this kind of thing is happening.”

An attorney for the city of Dover and the Dover Police Department would not speak with the Portland Press Herald/Maine Sunday Telegram about the investigation or the allegations from the Sorge family.

The Sorge family is still in mourning. Gavin Sorge Sr. said he and his wife remain too overcome with grief to talk with a reporter about how their whole lives changed in a minute.

They cry every day for their son and his lost future with his partner.

“They spoke often of their future together and were looking forward to starting a family one day,” they wrote in his obituary. “It brings peace knowing that they are still together, laughing and watching Ru Paul’s Drag Race.”

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