RMV Official Fired Amid NH Motorcycle Crash Record Scandal

Thomas Bowes' termination comes as lawmakers probe lapses at the RMV exposed by the deadly June 21 crash in Randolph, New Hampshire

Another Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles official is out of their job in the wake of the deadly motorcycle crash that killed seven people in June.

The director of the RMV's Merit Rating Board, Thomas Bowes, was let go during a meeting of the board on Tuesday by a unanimous vote. The board keeps traffic law violations, certain insurance claim records and out-of-state driving records.

"The Merit Rating Board needs to head in a new direction and I believe that it requires new leadership," acting RMV Registrar Jamey Tesler said.

Bowes' termination comes as lawmakers probe lapses at the RMV exposed by the 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.

Registrar Erin Deveney resigned days later, after it became clear that the driver of the truck should have been suspended from driving but state officials failed to act on two notifications they received from Connecticut about him being arrested in May for allegedly driving under the influence.

Attorney General Maura Healey called the board's decision to fire Bowes "a step in the right direction" but said systemic changes are needed at the RMV.

At Tuesday's hearing, Bowes acknowledged the lapses the state has found in the RMV's handling of a backlog of out-of-state notifications that should have flagged the driver's record.

"The tragedy that occurred on June 21 should never have happened. As the director of the Merit Rating Board, I take full responsibility for the role my department played in this event," Bowes said.

After the meeting finished, Bowes' lawyer, Leonard Kesten, called Bowes a scapegoat, saying, "You could select 22 people, 50 people, that weren't doing their jobs for years."

But he said Bowes wouldn't fight the termination.

Bowes was planning to run for mayor of Braintree, The Boston Globe reported this month.

The vice chair of the state Senate's Joint Committee on Transportation had previously called for Bowes' resignation, saying he "was the manager most directly responsible for ensuring that [the out-of-state] records were processed fully and in a timely manner."

State attorney Glenn Kaplan, who represented board member Attorney General Maura Healey at the meeting, lamented that the board hadn't met in years "despite my repeated requests that it convene."

Both Healey and a spokesman for Gov. Charlie Baker called Bowes' removal "a step in the right direction."

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