Monday, June 24, 2019

Truck driver charged in deadly motorcycle crash

Columbia, New Hampshire, USA (June 24, 2019) — The driver of a truck in a collision that killed seven motorcyclists was charged Monday with seven counts of negligent homicide, authorities said.

Volodoymyr Zhukovskyy, 23, was arrested Monday morning at his home in West Springfield, Massachusetts, on a fugitive from justice charge related to Friday’s crash, the New Hampshire attorney general’s office said.


He was expected to make a court appearance on the charge Monday afternoon in Springfield.

A man who answered the phone at the home of Zhukovskyy’s family and would identify himself only as his brother-in-law said Monday that the family is in shock and feeling the same pain as everyone else but couldn’t say whether the driver was right or wrong.

Related | Bikers bid goodbye to 7 killed in crash

Zhukovskyy’s pickup truck towing a flatbed trailer collided with a group of 10 motorcycles Friday on a two-lane highway in the northern New Hampshire community of Randolph, investigators said.

The victims were members or supporters of the Marine JarHeads, a New England motorcycle club that includes Marines and their spouses, and ranged in age from 42 to 62.

The circumstances of the wreck have been mysterious.

The uncle of one of the victims said Sunday that he was trying to comprehend how so many bikers died in one accident.

“The truck was coming in the opposite direction. It’s hard to figure how he could hit 10 motorcycles without getting out of the way,” Joseph Mazza said. “Right now, the details are very vague. I’m very confused ... I need more information.”


Authorities identified the dead as Michael Ferazzi, 62, of Contoocook, New Hampshire; Albert Mazza Jr., 59, of Lee, New Hampshire; Desma Oakes, 42, of Concord, New Hampshire; Aaron Perry, 45, of Farmington, New Hampshire; Daniel Pereira, 58, of Riverside, Rhode Island; and Jo-Ann and Edward Corr, both 58, of Lakeville, Massachusetts.

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Sunday, June 23, 2019

Bikers bid goodbye to 7 killed in crash

Columbia, New Hampshire, USA (June 23, 2019) — A long-planned Blessing of the Bikes ceremony for motorcycle enthusiasts became a scene of mourning and reflection Sunday as about 400 people paid tribute to seven bikers killed in a devastating collision with a pickup truck.

The victims of the wreck Friday evening were members or supporters of the Marine JarHeads — a New England motorcycle club that includes Marines and their spouses — and ranged in age from 42 to 62.

More from Veterans Radio Indiana


Related | Bikers from veterans group killed are identified
Related | 7 Dead after truck slams into Marines MC members

“When they fall, we all fall,” said Laura Cardinal, vice president of the Manchester Motorcycle Club, adding that fellow bikers will support the families of those who died. “Those families, they’re going to go through a lot now. They have a new world ahead of them.”

A motorcycle passes as a woman leaves flowers at the scene of a fatal accident on Route 2 in Randolph, N.H., Saturday, June 22, 2019. (Paul Hayes/Caledonian-Record via AP)

A pickup truck towing a flatbed trailer collided with a group of 10 motorcycles on a two-lane highway in the small town of Randolph, leaving victims strewn on the grass amid their shattered bikes. The cause of the crash was under investigation, and no immediate charges were filed.

Blessing of the Bikes ceremonies are held in many locations as a way to give prayers for a safe season. Sunday’s event, situated about an hour from the accident site, was expected to draw maybe 100 or 200 people before it was transformed by tragedy.

The Rev. Rich Baillargeon presided, blessing the bikes using a branch dipped in holy water as they filed by, and held a moment of silence and prayer for the victims. One biker got up to say a prayer but got choked up and couldn’t finish. The ceremony also included a bugle playing of taps.

Many of the bikers wore jeans and leather jackets with their club patches and rumbled in on their Harley-Davidsons. The outdoor gathering took place on the property of a former church, with bikers parking in rows in the parking lot and on the grass on a warm, sunny day as vendors sold corn dogs, french fries, pizza, sausage and lemonade.

Gary and Sheila Judkins came from Sumner, Maine, in part because of the crash, saying being there was a way to feel connected to other riders.

“It’s a positive thing for bikers. And if anything, bikers need something positive,” Gary Judkins said.

Authorities identified the dead as Michael Ferazzi, 62, of Contoocook, New Hampshire; Albert Mazza, 49, of Lee, New Hampshire; Desma Oakes, 42, of Concord, New Hampshire; Aaron Perry, 45, of Farmington, New Hampshire; Daniel Pereira, 58, of Riverside, Rhode Island; and Joanne and Edward Corr, both 58, of Lakeville, Massachusetts.

One person injured in the wreck remained hospitalized in stable condition.

The tragedy left the close-knit motorcycle community in shock, with many remembering their own close calls on the road.

“Seven people. C’mon. It’s senseless,” said Bill Brown, a 73-year-old Vietnam War veteran and motorcyclist, who visited the accident scene Saturday to plant flags. “Somebody made a mistake, and it turned out to be pretty deadly.”

The pickup driver, Volodoymyr Zhukovskyy, 23, an employee of a Springfield, Massachusetts, trucking company, was not seriously hurt. The National Transportation Safety Board, which is investigating, said he was interviewed at the scene by police and allowed to return to Massachusetts.

A man reached by phone who identified himself as Zhukovskyy’s father said his son is cooperating with the investigation and was not available to talk to a reporter.

Authorities asked for the public’s help in the form of videos, photos or other information about the accident or the vehicles.

New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu ordered flags to fly at half-staff Monday in memory of the victims.

SOURCE: Boston Herald

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Monday, June 10, 2019

Veterans ride attracts over 850 bikers

Plainfield, Connecticut, USA (June 10, 2019) — A Reason to Ride, a veterans charity, has been organizing their Flag Day Run yearly since 1999. Dominic Rutigliano, the group’s treasurer, said that it’s raised at least $25,000 this year.

The run itself lasted about an hour and a half, said the charity’s chairman, Dan Martin. The route took riders from Plainfield to plenty of local towns, such as Griswold and Voluntown. Once the riders reach Norwich, they start to make their way back to Plainfield from the west.

Motorcycle riders begin the charity Flag Day Run for A Reason to Ride on Sunday at the Plainfield Veterans of Foreign Wars. Photo: Matt Grahn

At the Plainfield Veterans of Foreign Wars, the ride’s meeting point, it appeared there was a sea of motorcycles in the parking lot. Bikers paid $20 to ride in the event, which included lunch afterward. Behind the VFW building, there were stands from bike dealers, apparel vendors and other biker causes, such as Bikers Against Child Abuse.

Before the run started, there was an opening ceremony on the VFW’s back porch. that included words from the sponsors, a rendition of the national anthem, and a blessing of the motorcycles. After the ride, Redlight, a local band, would entertain during lunch.

Even with all the entertainment, Martin says that helping with the veterans is the best part. He also likes meeting the people that A Reason to Ride has helped out.

“It’s rewarding, of course. They’re appreciative of what we did. Sometimes, they even want to give back,” he said.

That want to give back applies to other veterans as well. John Koch, who served in the Navy from 1981 to 1987, has come to event almost every year for the “camaraderie.”

“Everyone comes here to have a good time, with a common goal and purpose to raise money for veterans,” he said.

Gary Crawford also feels the camaraderie, saying “We all do our parts in every way everyone can.”

Crawford, who served in the Coast Guard from 1980 to 1984, said there is a connection between veterans and motorcycle culture.

“After you’ve been told what to do every single day for however long your stint was, it’s kind of nice to be able to choose your own direction, your own speed,” he said. “Pure examples of freedom we can share in these United States.”

Rutigliano started working with A Reason to Ride 12 years ago, when he moved next door to another committee member, Dan Barber. After attending a couple meetings, Rutigliano was “hooked.”

Rutigliano, who also served in the Air Force during Vietnam, likes the event because the only administrative costs are insurance related, as the entire group is volunteer run.

“You hear a lot of bad publicity about some of these giant fundraisers. I’m not trying to knock anybody, but I don’t like it when someone is promoting an organization and they’re going to get paid for it,” he said.

Motorcycle are parked before the charity Flag Day Run for A Reason to Ride on Sunday at the Plainfield Veterans of Foreign Wars. Photo: Matt Grahn

Rutigliano plans on helping out for as long as he can. Rutigliano is hopeful the event can continue for years to come.

“Every year, we get a couple of new people coming onto the committee. I can’t see why we can’t continue for the next 10, 15 years,” he said.

SOURCE: The Bulletin

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Sunday, June 9, 2019

Motorcycle ride helps Wisconsin veterans

Wausau, Wisconsin, USA (June 9, 2019) — Man of Honor Society Ride held throughout Marathon County. Kicking off at 11 a.m. motorcyclist traveled through multiple cities making several stops along the way to raise money to support Wisconsin Veterans.

The ride started at Mountain Edge Bar in Wausau and went through Mosinee, Hatley, and Weston ending back in Wausau.


“This is always so exciting,” said Mary Mulder who organizes the fundraiser every year. “We had beautiful weather this year.”

All of the proceeds raised through silent auctions and raffles will be used to support wheelchair ramps, travel expenses and many other needs for veterans in Wisconsin.

Organizers tell NewsChannel 7, this year had one of the largest participation turnouts.

SOURCE: WSAW

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Sunday, June 2, 2019

National Patriot Tour Rolling

Grand Island, Nebraska, USA (June 2, 2019) — 100 days, 14,500 miles is the journey one american flag is taking to recognize disabled veterans. after starting in Wisconsin, the flag has now made its way to Nebraska on the back of a Harley Davidson as part of the National Patriot Tour.


Dozens of bikers have been helping take the flag across the state to be passed on to the next. Organizers of the Nebraska chapter said they really enjoy being a part of the cause every year..

“Everyday it travels among people like this our patriot people that just love the flag, support veterans because what it actually represents is wounded veterans. So we raise money to actually donate that money back to the veterans,” Regional Commander Troi Pospisil said.

This is the 10th year of the tour and the organization has raised over a million dollars since it began.

“It's a great honor for me to do this every year and get to see the same people again,” Pospisil said. “I mean some of them...that's the only time I get to see [them] is on this ride.”

Sunday, the flag will be taken to North Platte to be handed off to the next group of riders for the Patriot Tour.


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