Seven members and supporters of the Marine Jarheads Motorcycle Club have been killed in a horrific crash in New Hampshire involving a pickup truck. According to The New York Post, most of the victims were former Marines.
New Hampshire officials released the names of the deceased victims on Sunday, June 23, 2019. They are:
Michael Ferazzi (Contoocook)
Albert Mazza (Lee)
Daniel Pereira (Riverside, RI)
Jo-Ann and Edward Corr (Lakeville, MA)
Desma Oakes (Concord)
Aaron Perry (Farmington)
You can read tributes to the victims here. According to Deputy Attorney General Jane Young, the five male victims were members of the Jarheads MC, and the two women were supporters of the club.
Volodoymyr Zhukovskyy, 23, was the driver of the pickup truck, the state’s attorney revealed in a news conference. Zhukovsky worked for a company called Westfield Transport out of Springfield, Massachusetts. He has prior drunk driving arrests.
On June 24, 2019, a WMUR reporter wrote on Twitter that Zhukovsky was now under arrest and “has been charged with seven counts of negligent homicide.”
“They’re a Marine group,” Young said in a press conference, about the victims. “They were up in the area for a reunion. We have identified the driver and where he lives.” Of the victims, Young said: “They were members of the Jarhead Motorcycle Club.” A GoFundMe page designed to help Jarheads MC and the victims’ families says five of the victims were club patch holders and two were supporters.
The deaths of so many bikers in a single incident is devastating to the community. ABC News described the Marine Jarheads as a motorcycle club “that includes Marines and their spouses.” The accident occurred along Route 2 in Randolph.
Charlie St. Clair, executive director of Laconia Motorcycle Week Association, told The Associated Press that the tragedy was “staggering and it’s tragic beyond description.”
Here’s what you need to know:
A GoFundMe Page Has Raised More Than $139,000 to Help the Jarheads MC and Families
According to the GoFundMe page set up to help the club and families, on June 21, 2019, “Jarheads MC was riding to a charity event at the local American Legion in Gorham, New Hampshire Post #82. Our pack was struck by an oncoming vehicle and we lost 5 patch holders and 2 supporters, and many others are injured.”
The page adds: “Our club and the families are going to need help and we cannot do it alone. I am pleading with you all, please do what you can, and this money will go where it is needed to help ease some of the burden of these victims families. Jarheads MC has always been about helping veterans and their families and sadly, today we are in need of that same support.”
According to the page, Jarheads Motorcycle Club “is a club consisting of active duty or honorably discharged Marines and FMF Corpsmen. We ride and serve veterans and veteran families in our committees, with chapters in Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Maine.”
The Jarheads website explains, “We are a Motorcycle Club consisting of honorably discharged United States Marines and FMF Corpsmen. We are a 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to supporting veteran’s causes. We respect all and fear none. ”
A Dodge Pickup Driven by Volodoymyr Zhukovskyy Struck a Group of 10 Motorcyclists, Police Say
“This was a long night for our investigators,” Colonel Christopher Wagner of the New Hampshire State Police said in a news conference. He said the tragedy was described “by our investigators as one of the worst investigations they have ever completed. I had my most senior investigators out last night, and they had never seen the tragedy they had seen last night.”
He offered condolences to the victims, their friends, and their families.
Wagner provided these details of what happened: He said that, around 6:30 p.m. June 21, a 2016 Dodge 2500 pickup truck was towing a quality trailer, which is a trailer that hauls cars. It was traveling west on Route 2 in Randolph.
The “Dodge pickup truck struck numerous motorcycles traveling east on Route 2.” There were 10 motorcycles involved, and “seven people lost their lives.” Three others were injured. One biker was medflighted. Two of those people transported have been released from the hospital. One person still remains in the hospital, said Wagner.
“Make no mistake about this… this is one of the worst tragic incidents we have investigated in the state. This was a mass casualty event,” Wagner said. He said the investigation was in the beginning stages and was going to be a lengthy probe.
“We want to make sure we cover all of the bases… to make sure we understand exactly what happened,” Wagner said. Authorities have not yet detailed exactly what went wrong or the crash’s cause.
The road was closed for 12 hours, he added. Beatrice Engstrand, a doctor at the scene, told NPR she tried to help the victims stop bleeding.
“At least three bikers were thrown into the woods and there were flames over 20 feet high,” Engstrand said. “The motorcycles were all chopped up all over the roads and there were bodies everywhere and people crying.”
No one Is Under Arrest & the Accident Scene Was Complex, Authorities Say
John McCormick, the state’s attorney, said he wanted to remind everyone that it was a “complex accident scene involving numerous motorcycles, victims, and an operator of a pickup truck with an attached trailer. At this stage, there have been no arrests, but I will pursue every lead and investigative avenue.” That comment came before the later report that the driver was taken into custody, though.
He had asked for the public’s assistance. He said the pickup in question was black in color. If anyone has videos, photos or information about the accident scene or the vehicle prior to the collision, they were asked to contact the headquarters of the New Hampshire State Police.
He said the driver was the sole occupant of the pickup truck and that the investigation encompasses Volodoymyr Zhukovskyy, who resides in West Springfield, Massachusetts, his conduct, as well as the company that he worked for.
The NTSB is involved to study why the accident happened, in part, officials said. That agency will focus on the factors that affected the driver, the mechanical condition of the pickup truck, and other angles.
Jane Young, the deputy attorney general, said the names of the victims would not be released on June 22, but she said they would likely be released on June 23. Officials were having trouble reaching some families at first. She said victim witness advocates were embedded with friends and family through the night. She said it was a moment of “horror” and the families “were trying to come to grips with this…there are also a number of friends who are in the area.”
The Tragedy Has Had a ‘Profound’ Effect on the State, the Governor Says
“Yesterday’s tragedy has affected our state and our citizens in a very profound way,” said Gov. Chris Sununu in the press conference. “It’s clear to say words can not express the grief that we all feel about the loss of these seven individuals.”
He called it “clearly quite a horrible day in our state.”
A team of local and state officials was deployed to the scene “to tend to the victims and stabilize an incredibly tragic situation,” the governor said. “It was truly an immense effort with everyone coming together…while the road may be reopened, we clearly have a lot to do.”
He called it a “tragic event” and said that veterans’ services officers had also been deployed.