Thousands ride bikes through NH to honor 7 bikers killed

More than 3,000 participated, police say

By Scottie Andrew and Nadeem Muaddi, CNN

(CNN) - Thousands of motorcyclists rode across New Hampshire on Saturday to honor seven bikers killed in a collision with a pickup truck in June.

New Hampshire State Police said more than 3,000 people participated in the "Ride for the Fallen 7," a 90-mile journey to the site of the crash.

The cyclists started their ride at noon, leaving from a biker bar in Laconia, and traveled north to end up at Route 2 in Randolph near the motel where the victims stayed before the accident. State police escorted the group for the length of the route.

"It's an unprecedented accident, so we might as well have an unprecedented memorial," organizer Steven Allison told CNN affiliate WMUR.

The seven victims of the June crash were Marine veterans and their spouses -- members of the Jarheads Motorcycle Club for honorably discharged corpsmen.

They were traveling west on Route 2, on their way to a charity event, when a pickup truck crossed into their lane from the opposite direction, killing them, according to a criminal complaint.

The truck driver, 23-year-old Volodymyr Zhukovskyy, pleaded not guilty to seven charges of negligent homicide.

In the days following the accident, the Massachusetts Department of Transportation revealed Zhukovskyy had received an intoxicated driving charge in Connecticut in May, which should have led to the termination of his Massachusetts commercial drivers license.

On Friday, Massachusetts governor Charlie Baker announced changes to the state's Registry of Motor Vehicles, which include running all 5.2 million licenses through the National Driver Register to keep suspension information up to date and creating a new position to oversee safety and set requirements for commercial drivers in the state.

CNN's Elizabeth Joseph contributed to this report.

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