400 bikers gathered in New Hampshire this weekend to pay tribute to seven people who were killed when a truck driver collided with a group of riders.
Saturday’s event had planned to be a Blessing of the Bikes ceremony for motorbike enthusiasts, however it turned into a vigil for the seven who lost their lives in the unfortunate collision with a pickup truck on Friday, June 21.
A Dodge 250 pickup truck towing a flatbed trailer reportedly collided with a group of 10 bikers on a two-lane highway in the town of Randolph, New Hampshire last week.
According to NECN, the bikers were members of the South Shore chapter of the Jarheads biker club.
Witnesses described the scene as ‘devastating’, with bystanders trying to help the people on the road, while the truck was reportedly on fire as emergency services arrived on the scene.
State Police Captain Chris Vetter said:
It’s tragic. It’s tragic for those involved, tragic for the families, so we’re doing our job, we’re doing our work and our thoughts are with the people who were adversely affected by this.
Many riders often participate in Blessing of the Bikes ceremonies, which are used as a way to pray for safe journeys through the upcoming biking season. Saturday’s planned event, however, was transformed into a candlelit vigil for the riders.
The New Hampshire ceremony, which was taking place about an hour away and was expected to hold 100-200 people, attracted 400 riders who came to pay their respects.
The Rev. Rich Baillargeon held the ceremony, in which he blessed the bikes using a branch dipped in holy water as they slowly rode past. There was also a minute’s silence for the victims of the crash, while prayers were said and music played.
Bill Brown, a 73-year-old Vietnam veteran and biker, called the incident ‘senseless’, telling the MailOnline: ‘Somebody made a mistake, and it turned out to be pretty deadly.’
The driver of the pickup truck was reportedly not seriously injured in the crash, they were interviewed by police at the scene of the crash and is said to be cooperating with the investigation.
The cause of the crash is currently being investigated, and no immediate charges have been filed.
According to New Hampshire State Police Colonel Chris Wagner, the crash was ‘one of the worst tragic incidents’ seen in New Hampshire.
If you have experienced a bereavement and would like to speak with someone in confidence contact Cruse Bereavement Care via their national helpline on 0808 808 1677.
Charlie Cocksedge is a journalist at UNILAD. He graduated from the University of Manchester with an MA in Creative Writing, where he learnt how to write in the third person, before getting his NCTJ. His work has also appeared in such places as The Guardian, PN Review and the bin.