A Massachusetts lawmaker is calling for a manager at the state Registry of Motor Vehicles to step down one day after the Joint Committee on Transportation held an oversight hearing into the agency.
State Sen. Eric Lesser (D-Longmeadow), the vice-chair of the Joint Committee on Transportation, released a statement Wednesday calling for the resignation of RMV Merit Review Board Director Thomas Bowes.
"The oversight hearing conducted by the Transportation Committee yesterday made clear that there were repeated red flags that out-of-state notifications were not being processed, allowing thousands of dangerous drivers to remain on the road. Thomas Bowes, as Director of the Merit Review Board, was the manager most directly responsible for ensuring that these records were processed fully and in a timely manner," Lesser said in a statement.
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Lawmakers have been probing lapses at the RMV that were exposed by a deadly June 21 crash in Randolph, New Hampshire. Seven members of a New England motorcycle club were killed when a truck pulling a car hauler crashed into the group.
The man driving the truck was charged in May with drunken driving in Connecticut, and his license should have been suspended, according to the RMV. State officials failed to act on two notifications they received from Connecticut about the May arrest.
NBC10 Boston spoke to the president of the Jarheads MC motorcycle club about the bombshell revelations that came out of the hearing. Manny Ribeiro, who survived the crash, said he considers the failures criminal neglect and resignations are not enough.
"They should be fired," Ribeiro said. "If someone needs to go to jail then someone needs to go to jail. That's not for me to say, but someone needs to be held accountable."
The fallout from the crash also led to the resignation of Erin Deveney, the former head of the RMV.
The registry has since issued more than 1,500 suspensions to drivers facing charges out of state after reviewing its backlog of notices.
Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker says he wasn't made aware of problems the RMV had with processing out-of-state notifications until after last month's deadly motorcycle crash.
Registry officials testified at the legislative oversight hearing Tuesday that they had known for years that tens of thousands of unprocessed, out-of-state notices involving infractions by Massachusetts drivers were piling up in boxes.
Committee member asks Dwyer if the RMV had taken her recommendations sooner - would they have suspended the license of Volodymyr Zhukovskyy before the fatal NH Crash? “It’s possible,” she says. pic.twitter.com/EHRlZTa9P4— Abbey Niezgoda NBC10 Boston (@AbbeyNBCBoston) July 30, 2019
Baker told reporters Wednesday that he only learned of the backlog several days after the motorcyclists were killed, when it was revealed the registry had failed to act on information that the Massachusetts truck driver involved in the crash was arrested weeks earlier.
It was then that Baker ordered an independent audit of the registry after the crash.