RMV Employee Fired Over Neglect In Case of Licensed Driver Who Crashed Into Seven Motorcyclists Running For Braintree Town Council Again

Printed from: https://newbostonpost.com/2021/08/13/rmv-employee-fired-over-neglect-in-seven-motorcyclists-deaths-in-new-hampshire-running-for-braintree-town-council-again/

Thomas Bowes has experience working in government, and he wants one of his old posts back. 

The former Braintree town councilor, who unsuccessfully ran for mayor in 2019 after being fired from the Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles amid a scandal, is running for a seat in Braintree’s third district this year.

Bowes is best known for being fired from the Registry of Motor Vehicles in 2019 after a Ukrainian man killed seven motorcyclists in New Hampshire in June that year.

The man, Volodymyr Zhukovskyy, had a long list of traffic violations, and yet, the state Merit Rating Board, which Bowes served as the director of, hadn’t suspended his license. 

Under Bowes’s leadership, the Merit Rating Board reportedly failed to address thousands of out-of-state driver violation notices — and no one even looked at them. The Merit Rating board “maintains operator driving records consisting of traffic law violations, at-fault and comprehensive insurance claim records, and out-of-state driving records,” according to Mass.gov.

Bowes was paid an annual rate of $116,744 during 2019 through late August, according to state payroll records.

As for Zhukovskyy, here is a list (according to a summary of media reports by Boston.com) of the known driving and criminal offenses that he had in the run-up to killing seven motorcyclists in New Hampshire in 2019:


  • In 2012, he crashed into brush in West Springfield, Massachusetts. He was 16 at the time and charged with speeding, driving without a license, and negligent operation of a motor vehicle.

  • In 2013, he had a pair of violations. On June 15, 2013, he was arrested for drunken driving as a minor. He reportedly struck a parked car, ran a stop sign, and hit another vehicle. The incident occurred in Westfield, Massachusetts. He was also cited for an equipment violation at some point in 2013.

  • In December 2015, Zhukovskyy was charged with third-degree burglary for his role in the theft of windows and ladders from a Home Depot in Connecticut. He admitted to the crime and received a suspended 90-day jail sentence.

  • In January 2017, he lost his wallet in a West Springfield gas station. It had heroin and cocaine in it. He pleaded guilty to drug possession and paid a $200 fine.

  • In August 2018, he received a Commercial Drivers’ License in Massachusetts, also known as a Class A License. 

  • In February 2019, he was charged with possession of drug paraphernalia in Baytown, Texas for having a crack pipe. He was also cited for a lane infraction that same month.

  • A month later, he was cited for an improper lane change in Iowa.

  • In May 2019, he was arrested and charged with operating a motor vehicle under the influence of alcohol/drugs in East Windsor, Connecticut. 


Zhukovskyy refused a chemical test in that May 2019 incident, which would ordinarily result in the automatic termination of a commercial driver’s license in Massachusetts if the Registry of Motor Vehicles enforced the rules. However, the Registry did not take any action despite being notified of the incident, as MassLive reported at the time.

“The fact the RMV failed to act on information related to the driver responsible for this is deeply troubling and completely unacceptable,” Governor Charlie Baker said during a July 2019 press conference, according to MassLive.

As a result of the incident, the Merit Rating Board’s oversight board voted 3-0 to fire Bowes in August 2019. Bowes told Jamey Tesler, acting registrar at the time, that he took “full responsibility” for the role that his department had in allowing the crash to happen, according to State House News Service.

The incident hasn’t stopped Bowes from running for public office since then.

Bowes was last on the ballot in Braintree on September 17, 2019. He was eliminated in the preliminary mayoral election. He came in a distant fourth place, receiving 308 votes out of the 6273 ballots cast (4.9 percent), according to town records.

The town council race is officially nonpartisan. Bowes appears to support members of both parties, according to the Massachusetts Office of Campaign and Political Finance. He gave $400 to Massachusetts lieutenant governor Karyn Polito, a Republican, between 2016 and 2018. However, he also gave Norfolk County’s district attorney, Michael Morrissey, a Democrat, $50 in 2018. Plus, he gave state Senator John Keenan (D-Quincy) $25 in 2014, state Representative Mark Cusack (D-Braintree) $100 in 2010, $100 to then- Braintree mayor Joseph Sullivan (a Democrat) in 2018, and $100 to then-state representative Joseph Driscoll (D-Braintree) in 2008.

Bowes could not be reached for comment on Friday.


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