On Monday, the trial began for a driver involved in a crash that claimed the lives of several members of Marine Corps. motorcycle club three years ago.
Volodymr Zhukovskyy, 26, is currently undergoing a jury trial in New Hampshire, with the jury hearing statements and receiving instructions on Monday. The jury is also expected to view the crash site and other locations of importance to the case on Monday.
The trial is expected to last two to three weeks.
Zhukovskyy has pleaded not guilty to 25 felony charges, including negligent homicide, negligent homicide-DUI, reckless manslaughter, DUI aggravated collision with serious injury, and reckless conduct with a deadly weapon.
The crash occurred on June 21, 2019 on Route 2 in the town of Randolph, New Hampshire, when a group of 10 motorcycles was hit by a Westfield Transport Inc. pickup truck hauling a trailer that reportedly crossed over the centerline into the eastbound lane. Seven members of the Jarheads Motorcycle Club died in the crash. The pickup was operated by Zhukovskyy, a Westfield Transport employee at the time.
The legal team representing Zhukovskyy is expected to argue that the motorcyclists were intoxicated and therefore responsible for the crash, CBS News reports. Investigators have admitted that some of the motorcyclists were under the influence of alcohol but say that this wasn’t the cause of the crash.
Similarly, prosecutors are expected to focus on Zhukovskyy’s substance use during the trial.
An FMCSA report showed that Zhukovskyy tested positive for an “unspecified” narcotic or amphetamine drug that made him incapable of driving safely at the time of the crash.
Following the crash, troopers said that Zhukovskyy told them that he had “reached downward and attempted to retrieve an object from the bottom area of the center console of his vehicle” just before the crash.
During the post-crash investigation, authorities learned that Zhukovskyy was arrested on May 11, 2019, for OUI in Connecticut and that the Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles should have terminated his CDL but failed to do so.
Westfield Transport shuttered soon after the fatal crash. In February 2022, the U.S. Attorney’s Office District of Massachusetts announced that Westfield Transport, Inc. owners Dunyadar Gasanov (aka Damien Gasanov), 36, and Dartanayan Gasanov, 35, were facing falsification of records charges. Dunyadar Gasanov was also indicted on charges of conspiracy to falsify records and making a false statement to a federal investigator.