By Juli McDonald


WHITMAN (CBS) – The line of motorcycles in Whitman Wednesday night stretched as far as the eye could see. Clubs came from across New England – riding and raising money for seven strangers – but family just the same.

“When one falls, we all fall. That’s why we want to show strong support for this group and their families. They need it. We’re blown away by this happening. We can’t understand why. Why did it happen?” said Don Laliberte of Randolph AMVets.

The Jarheads and this biking community are especially leaning on each other as painful details emerge pointing to how the tragedy in New Hampshire Friday should have been prevented. New body camera video shows Volodymyr Zhukovskyy’s February drug arrest in Texas – months before he was charged with the negligent homicide of those seven bikers.

Motorcyclists gather at Whitman VFW to raise money for NH crash victims (Courtesy Steve Foster)

“You don’t want to be where we are today. You don’t. I promise you. Fix it. Don’t run from it, fix it,” said Jarheads president Manny Ribeiro.

The surviving riders of that crash say the abrupt resignation of Erin Deveney, Massachusetts’ RMV head, isn’t enough; the system failed to protect them. Last month, Zhukovskyy was arrested in Connecticut for driving under the influence. His refusal of a chemical test should have automatically terminated the 23-year-old’s commercial license.

Connecticut transportation leaders submitted that information to the national database.

Motorcyclists gather at Whitman VFW to raise money for NH crash victims (Courtesy Steve Foster)

“They sent something back to us saying based upon info received we did everything right and the process was right,” said Tony Guerrera, Deputy Commissioner of the Connecticut DMV.

Zhukovskyy has pleaded not guilty to the seven counts of negligent homicide. Next month, many bikers are expected to make a tribute ride to the crash site.

Juli McDonald

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