New Hampshire officials announced the names of seven motorcyclists killed on Friday night after their group collided with a pickup truck with a low loader.
The victims were named Michael Ferazzi, 62, from Contoocook, N.H. Albert Mazza, 49, by Lee, N.H .; Desma Oakes, 42, of Concord, N.H .; Aaron Perry, 45, of Farmington, N.H .; Daniel Pereira, 58, from Riverside, R. I .; and Joanne and Edward Corr, both 58, a husband and wife from Lakeville, Mass. All were members or supporters of Marine JarHead, a motorcycle club made up of marines and their spouses.
Soon after the names were published, New Hampshire Governor Chris Sununu ordered that all flags on public buildings and on the state grounds should be half-staffed from morning to night on Monday.
"The tragic accident in Randolph on Friday has deeply affected our state and our citizens," Sununu said in a statement.
The crash occurred around 6:30 pm Friday on US-2, a dual carriageway that runs through the small town north of Mount Washington. The pickup truck caught fire, and witnesses reported a "devastating" scene when bystanders tried to help the injured in the midst of crashed motorcycles. On Saturday, Volodoymyr Zhukovskyy, 23, identified an employee of Westfield Transport, a company based in Springfield, Massachusetts. They said that Zhukovskyy survived the crash, did not need to be hospitalized, and was not charged. One man who identified himself as Zhukovsky's father told The Associated Press that his son was working on the investigation and was back in Massachusetts.
Dartanyan Gasanov, owner of Westfield Transport, told The Boston Globe that he plans to talk to investigators on Monday and can not reach Zhukovskyy, who has not answered calls. The Globe, citing documents from the US Department of Transportation, said the company had lost fatalities or injuries in the past two years.
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In addition to the seven dead, the New Hampshire State Police claimed to have three paramedics in hospitals. Two of them were released on Saturday and one was in a stable condition.
"This is one of the worst tragic incidents we've investigated here in the state," New Hampshire State Police Col. Chris Wagner said on Saturday. "It will be a very lengthy investigation."
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Meanwhile, about 400 motorcyclists gathered in Columbia, NH, about 50 miles north of the crash site for a long-planned Blessing of the Bikes ceremony which became a monument. Rev. Rich Baillargeon, who led the ceremony, held a moment of silence and prayer for those who died in the crash.
"When they fall, we all fall," said Laura Cardinal, vice president of Manchester Motorcycle Club. "These families are going through a lot now, they have a new world ahead of them."
The Associated Press has contributed to this report.