Thousands turn out to support families of 7 motorcyclists killed in NH crash

WHITMAN, MASS. (WHDH) - Over 5,000 people from across New England showed up in force to support the seven families who lost loved ones in a violent motorcycle crash in New Hampshire.

Hundreds of motorcycles lined the street outside the Whitman VFW hall to help and raise money for the families of the seven Jarheads killed in a collision in Randolph, New Hampshire on Friday.

“If one falls, we all fall,” one man said.

The vigil comes after Immigration and Customs Enforcement issued an immigration detainer for the Massachusetts man who is facing seven counts of negligent homicide after the flatbed trailer he was hauling collided with a group of 10 motorcycles Randolph, New Hampshire on Friday.

ICE issued the detainer for Volodymyr Zhukovskyy, 23, of West Springfield, on Monday after he arrived at the Coos County House of Correction, according to the jail’s superintendent, Ben Champagne.

Zhukovskyy waived his right to an arraignment Tuesday and pleaded not guilty through his lawyer to seven counts of negligent homicide. He was ordered to remain in preventive detention, with a Coos County Court judge citing his past driving record, saying it poses a potential danger to the public and himself.

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Records show Zhukovskyy was arrested for drunken driving in 2013 in Westfield. His license was suspended for 210 days but the Bay State still awarded Zhukovskyy a CDL in 2018.

MassDOT says Zhukovskyy was under the age of 21 at the time of this violation. He is said to have served suspensions and attended education classes for the violation, including a youth alcohol program.

Zhukovskyy retained the license even though he was arrested in May in East Windsor, Connecticut, after failing a sobriety test in a Walmart parking lot.

Pollack said the RMV failed to act on information that was provided by the Connecticut Department of Motor Vehicles and that Zhukovskyy’s CDL should have been revoked before the deadly wreck.

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“In this case, the RMV had not acted on information provided by the Connecticut Department of Motor Vehicles about a May 11 incident that should have triggered termination of this individual’s commercial driver’s license,” Pollack’s statement went on to say.

Pollack called the crash a “tragedy” that is “impossible to comprehend.”

“The loss of life in any motor vehicle crash is a terrible tragedy and the massive toll this crash is taking on the families of the seven individuals who lost their lives, many of whom served this country, is impossible to comprehend,” Pollack added. “The Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles has a responsibility to enforce the laws governing the safe operation of vehicles and carries out its mission to the best of its abilities.”

The head of the Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles, Erin Deveney, has since resigned.

All of the crash victims were members of the Marine JarHeads, a New England motorcycle club that includes Marines and their spouses.

Marine Jarheads president Manny Ribeiro, who witnessed the devastation, destruction, and horror of the crash, is calling for an independent review of practices at the RMV.

“How can you investigate yourself? How is that even possible?” he told 7NEWS. “How is that not a conflict of interest?”

Funerals have been planned for all of the victims.

Gofundme page has also been established to support family members of the victims.

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