In the wake of a tragic crash that claimed the lives of seven motorcyclists in New Hampshire last week, new details are emerging about the driving record of the man accused of causing the crash.
Pickup vs. Motorcycle Crash Claims Seven Lives
On Friday, June 21, seven members of the Marine JarHeads motorcycle club were killed in a crash on Route 2 in the town of Randolph, New Hampshire, when they were hit by a pickup truck hauling a trailer that crossed over the centerline into the eastbound lane.
Seven riders in a motorcycle club comprised of active and veteran Marines were killed in a collision with a pickup truck in Randolph, N.H., Friday night. https://t.co/dJqQj6lSqC
— NPR (@NPR) June 23, 2019
The driver accused of causing the crash, 23 year old Volodoymyr Zhukovskyy, was arrested at his home in West Springfield, Massachusetts, on Monday, June 24. He has since pled not guilty to seven counts of negligent homicide.
Zhukovskyy was employed by Springfield, Massachusetts based trucking company Westfield Transport at the time of the crash.
Multiple Substance Violations Uncovered In Driving Record
Following the fatal crash, authorities have started a deeper dive into Westfield Transport and Zhukovskyy’s driving history. Here are some of the facts that have come to light in the past few days.
*The Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) says that Zhukovskyy received a Massachusetts personal driving license April 25, 2013 and then received a Class A license (CDL) on August 3, 2018.
*MassDOT says that Zhukovskyy’s driving record includes a violation on June 26, 2013 for OUI-Liquor and a disposition for that violation following his participation in a youth alcohol program.
*Zhukovskyy was arrested for possession of drug paraphernalia on February 11, 2019 when police discovered a crack pipe on his person while he was “talking to himself and acting strange” at a Denney’s restaurant in Texas.
*Zhukovskyy was arrested for OUI (Operating Under the Influence) on May 11, 2019, in Connecticut after police were called to a Walmart parking lot for reports of someone revving a truck engine and jumping around in the lot. The Boston Herald reports that police were so disturbed by Zhukovskyy’s suicidal comments and erratic behavior that they sent him to the hospital. Zhukovskyy also reportedly refused to take a drug test during the May 11 incident.
*Baytown, Texas, police say that Zhuokovskyy flipped an 18 wheeler about 20 miles east of Houston on June 3, 2019. Zhukovskyy told police that he crashed after a car cut him off and he wasn’t cited. No injuries were reported.
*Investigators also say that Westfield Transport drivers are placed out of service four times more often than the average trucking company — 20.8% versus 5.5%.
Licensing Official Resigns Over Failure To Terminate CDL
The head of the Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles, Erin Deveney, has resigned in the wake of the fatal crash for failing to “terminate” Zhukovskyy’s CDL due to the May 11 OUI charge.
From a MassDOT statement issued on Deveney’s resignation:
The Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles has a responsibility to enforce the laws governing safe operation of vehicles and carries out its mission to the best of its abilities. But in this case, the RMV had not acted on information provided by the Connecticut Department of Motor Vehicles about a May 11 incident that should have triggered termination of this individual’s commercial driver’s license. Effective immediately, former MassDOT Chief Operating Officer Jamey Tesler will take over as Acting Registrar of the RMV as I have accepted Registrar Erin Deveney’s resignation. Jamey will lead an in depth review of the Registry’s state-to-state data sharing processes to ensure the RMV acts as quickly as possible on any information shared by other states.”
Driver Could Face Deportation
Additionally, Zhukovskyy has a green card, but due to a retainer filed by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, he now faces deportation back to Ukraine, pending the results of the legal proceedings against him.