COLUMBIA, N.H. — The seven motorcyclists killed in New Hampshire when a pickup truck collided with the group weren’t the average bike enthusiasts.
Marine veterans and their spouses — members of the Jarheads Motorcycle Club — were among those killed Friday in the accident on Route 2 in Randolph that also left three people injured.
The motorcyclists were on their way to an event at the American Legion when they were hit by the pickup, Scott Swann, a member of the club, told CNN affiliate WMUR.
Dawn Brindley was riding with the group when they collided with a westbound 2016 Dodge 2500 truck.
“I was on inside,” she told WMUR. “I saw the truck, I think. I don’t even know. It was just all fire. I just laid my bike down and I just rolled.
“I just looked around. Somebody helped me up. I was just hysterical.”
Brindley and Swann returned to the scene of the crash, where they placed an American flag — one for each victim — at the site, according to WMUR. Back at the hotel, where the club was staying, an American flag flew at half-staff.
“All our people are just good, hard-charging Marines,” Swann said.
Those killed hailed from New England and ranged in age from 42 to 62, New Hampshire Deputy Attorney General Jane Young said Sunday. According to the chief medical examiner, each of the seven died of “blunt trauma,” Young said.
The victims were identified as Michael Ferazzi, 62, of Contoocook, New Hampshire; Albert Mazza, 49, of Lee, New Hampshire; Daniel Pereira, 58, of Riverside, Rhode Island; Desma Oakes, 42, of Concord, New Hampshire; Aaron Perry, 45, of Farmington, New Hampshire; and Joanne and Edward Corr, both 58 and from Lakeville, Massachusetts.
Three riders were injured in the crash. Joshua Morin, 45, of Dalton, Massachusetts, was med-flighted from the scene and is being treated at the Maine Medical Center; and Steven Lewis, 58, of Brimfield, Massachusetts, was treated and released from an area hospital. A third person, who declined to be identified, was treated and released from an area hospital, authorities said.
Beatrice Engstrand, a neurologist who was staying at a nearby inn, said the flames from the fire reached about 20 feet high.
She ran to the scene with the inn’s co-owner, Jerry Hamanne. They tried to assist as many people as they could. Engstrand applied a tourniquet to one injured man’s leg and performed compressions on others until help arrived, she told the affiliate.
“It was just terrible,” Hamanne said. “No one thought of taking photos or anything like that. You just want to help the people who were screaming and laying there in the road.”
Truck driver identified as 23-year-old
Of the three injured in the crash, two were treated and released from local hospitals, and one was transported by air after the accident and remains hospitalized, according to New Hampshire State Police Col. Chris Wagner.
State police collision analysis and reconstruction teams are investigating the crash, along with local police and the Coos County Attorney’s Office.
“The scene is pretty large and there’s a lot of work to be done,” New Hampshire State Police Capt. Chris Vetter said. “I don’t know that I have ever seen a crash with this much loss of life. It was a pretty significant accident.”
The driver of the pickup truck has been identified as Volodoymyr Zhukovskyy, 23, Coos County Attorney John McCormick said at a news conference Saturday.
Zhukovskyy was alone in the truck at the time of the collision, and he was working as a driver for a transportation company based in Springfield, Massachusetts, McCormick said.
No arrests have been made in connection to the crash, McCormick said.
Young declined to comment on whether the driver of the pickup truck fled the scene, or whether drugs or alcohol were involved, citing an ongoing investigation.