WHITMAN, Mass. (WPRI) — Thousands of bikers from across New England gathered in Whitman Wednesday for a vigil to remember the seven motorcyclists that were killed in a tragic crash in New Hampshire last week.
Officials said the victims were members and supporters of “Marine Jarheads” which is a regional motorcycle club made up of marine veterans and their spouses.
Local bikers have spoken out about crash and said there is more that needs to be done to ensure their safety on the roads.
“When one falls, we all fall and that’s why we want to show strong support for this whole group here and their families because they really need it,” said Don Laliberte, a biker from Randolph. “And we’re just blown away that this happened, and we can’t understand why, why did it happen?”
Officials said 23-year-old Volodymyr Zhukovskyy caused the crash. He pleaded not guilty to seven counts of negligent homicide.
Zhukovskyy was driving a Westfield Transport truck in New Hampshire Friday night when he collided with the motorcyclists, according to Damien Gasanov of Westfield Transport.
With his court appearance on hold for now, questions still remain as to why Zhukovskyy was allowed behind the wheel.
An employee with Westfield Transport said Zhukovskyy was a new driver on his second trip with the company when the crash occurred.
According to records obtained by the Massachusetts RMV, Zhukovskyy had a violation for “operating under the influence” in 2013 and two violations for “at fault for an accident” in 2012 and 2014.
Court records show Zhukovskyy was most recently charged with operating under the influence on May 11 in Connecticut, and his refusal of a chemical test should have automatically terminated his license.