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New England Patriots’ Robert Kraft donates $100K to Marines biker club after deadly crash

Robert Kraft at Super Bowl Experience (Thomson200/WikiCommons)
July 20, 2019

New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft donated $100,000 for the victims and families of the motorcycle crash last month that killed seven.

Kraft announced his donation at a memorial event that took place last week outside Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Mass., which drew people from across the country who came to pay respects to the five Marine veterans and their two spouses from Jarheads Motorcycle Club who lost their lives in the crash, according to the Marine Corps Times.

Most of those in attendance were from the New England-based Jarheads MC, which is made up of Marines and their families.

A GoFundMe page was established for the families and before the service began, over $560,000 had been raised with a goal of $700,000.

Kraft announced his $100,000 donation and said he would kick in the remaining amount needed for them to reach their target goal at the end of the day.

Kraft said, “The Jarheads are what makes America the greatest. We are all Patriots and you are the true patriots.”

One of the survivors, Manny Ribeiro, Jarheads MC president said, “This event would not have come together without Mr. Kraft.”

Jarheads member, George Loring said, “Every motorcyclist here is here to support those who have died and those who are injured and hopefully their presence today will help everybody heal.”

Loring was nearby the crash site and said while the support is reassuring, “it doesn’t stop the tears.”

Speaking after the accident, New Hampshire State Police Col. Chris Wagner said, “This is one of the worst tragic incidents that we have investigated here in the state. It’s going to be a very lengthy investigation,” the Marine Times reported.

Volodymyr Zhukovskyy, 23, was driving the pickup truck and trailer that crossed the center line and struck the bikers head-on, leaving seven dead and several others injured. He is currently in jail and has pleaded not guilty to negligent homicide.

Zhukovskyy is a commercial driver employed by a Springfield, Mass. company called Westfield Transport. He had multiple prior driving infractions and violations in seven states, including DUI charges.

Police in Connecticut informed Massachusetts authorities on two occasions about Zhukovskyy’s DUI arrest but Massachusetts never suspended his license.

Loring said, “We lost seven people because they filed their paperwork away and didn’t do their jobs. This guy should not have been driving. Now, we all have to live with it.”

Cat Wilson, a friend of the victims said, “When something like this happens, we all feel it. There is no tighter community than our biker community.”

Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker has vowed to toughen up the state laws for commercial driver requirements and also says he will hire an external firm to assess the motor vehicles registry.