New England Patriots Owner Robert Kraft has pledged to donate $100,000 to the families of seven motorcyclists killed last month by a man with a history of drunk driving.
At a memorial service at Gillette Stadium, Kraft joined the families of the seven former Marines who died when 23-year-old Volodoymyr Zhukovskyy ran them over on a highway near Randolph, New Hampshire, on June 21. The police later found that Zhukovskyy has multiple arrests for drunk driving in Connecticut and Massachusetts.
Kraft met with the families of the deceased members of the New England-based “Jarheads” Motorcycle Club on Saturday. But when he took the stage, he made the surprise announcement that he would help the group raise the $700,000 they had sought with a GoFundMe campaign, according to CBS Boston.
“I know you have a GoFundMe page and it said you’re looking to raise 700 (thousand dollars) and you’re somewhere near $560,000, so our family, we’re going to commit $100,000 to that,” Kraft said during the event.
Kraft added that if his $100,000 does not get the fund to the desired $700K, he will make up the difference.
“We are all Patriots, and you are the true Patriots,” he said.
“Jarheads MC has always been about helping veterans and their families. Please help us now and give what you can,” a statement on the fundraising page reads. “Everything you can do is appreciated. We are strong enough to go through this, but we ask for and need your support.
“They were riding for good, they were riding for charity, they were riding to help people. My dad was a public servant his entire life. He helped people his entire life, that’s all he knew,” said Michael Ferazzi, whose father was killed in the crash.
“This event would not have come together without Mr. Kraft,” said Manny Ribeiro, Jarheads president and crash survivor.
Officials in Connecticut report that they warned Massachusetts authorities several about Zhukovskyy, but the Bay State never took any action to suspend the man’s license.
Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker lamented the state’s failure to act and proposed new legislation to address the lax commercial drivers rules.
“We lost seven people because they filed their paperwork away and didn’t do their jobs. This guy should not have been driving,” Said Jarheads member George Loring said.
“Now, we all have to live with it,” Governor Baker lamented.
Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston.