CONCORD, N.H. (AP) — A jury on Tuesday acquitted a commercial truck driver who caused the death. seven motorcycles horribly head-on collision In northern New Hampshire, a statewide license revocation process was found to be fatally flawed.
Volodymyr Zhukovsky, 26, of West Springfield, Massachusetts, was acquitted of seven counts of manslaughter, seven counts of manslaughter and one count of reckless conduct in connection with the June 21, 2019 Randolph crash. became. Imprisoned since the crash, he appeared to wipe away tears as his verdict was read, raising his index finger slightly to the sky before leaving the courtroom.
The jury deliberated in less than three hours after the two-week trial, during which prosecutors decided that Zhukovsky had heroin, fentanyl, cocaine Earlier in the day of the crash — he repeatedly turned back and forth before the crash and told police he caused it. Dismissing the charges, his attorneys accused lead biker Albert “Woody” Mazza Jr., stating: he was drunk I didn’t see where he was going when he lost control of his motorcycle and skidded in front of Zhukovsky’s truck.
“Our hearts go out to the victims and their families. New Hampshire Attorney General John Formera said in a statement.
In a statement, some of Zhukovsky’s family members who attended the trial said they thanked God, the court, and the defense attorneys for an “honest and fair trial.”
“Our family extends our deepest condolences to the families and friends affected by this tragedy,” the family said, describing him as “a very honest and kind person. He could never hurt someone.” would never have done it,” he said.
Born in Ukraine, Zhukovsky remained in jail until late Tuesday afternoon. It is unknown when he will be released. U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement issued him an immigration detainee after the crash, according to Ben Champagne, director of the Coos County Department of Corrections, who was executed following the verdict.
ICE said in a statement that Zhukovsky had been notified to appear before an immigration officer and would remain in ICE custody pending the outcome of his appearance. .
All seven motorcyclists killed were members of the Jarheads Motorcycle Club. Members of the Marine Corps who were contacted via Facebook after the verdict declined to comment. Mazza’s father, also named Albert, said he was stunned.
“Kill seven people and he goes down. It’s unbelievable,” Mazza said. He described his son as a “good man” who devoted much of his time to charity and said it was wrong to accuse him.
“It doesn’t make much sense,” he said. The affected family members are his seven. Strange that he got nothing. ”
The deceased motorcyclists were from New Hampshire, Massachusetts and Rhode Island and ranged in age from 42 to 62. They were part of a large group that had just left Randolph’s US Route 2 motel.
Maza of Lee, New Hampshire, was killed. Couple Edward and Joan Coar from Lakeville, Massachusetts. Michael Ferrazzi of Contooke, New Hampshire. Desma Oakes from Concord, New Hampshire. Daniel Pereira of Riverside, Rhode Island. Aaron Perry of Farmington, New Hampshire.
In their final statements Tuesday morning, both sides questioned which was more “everywhere”: the truck driver accused of going back and forth across the road or the one accused of contradicting each other. I am an eyewitness.
“These witnesses were all over what they remembered and what they claimed to have seen,” said defense attorney Jay Duguay.
Duguay also accused prosecutors of ignoring contradictions in their own accident reconstruction unit with their theory that Zhukovsky crossed oncoming traffic. Meanwhile, an expert hired by the defense testified that the collision occurred on the center line of the road and that Mazza’s motorcycle was heading in that direction, even though the truck was in the middle of the lane.
“From the beginning of this investigation, the state was determined about what happened. The evidence is useless,” Duguay said, also highlighting discrepancies between eyewitness accounts and eyewitnesses.
Duguay in particular suggested that bikers “hide” their accounts to protect Mazza and the club. Prosecutor Scott Chase acknowledged some discrepancies, but asked the jury to remember the circumstances.
“People were covering the dead, trying to save the barely alive, comforting the dying. This was not story time,” he said. “They were talking here about the unimaginable chaos, trauma, death and carnage that they could even imagine three years later. They were talking about hell bursting open.”
Witnesses consistently described the truck swaying back and forth before the crash, he claimed.
“That’s what stopped him. It’s not like he started paying attention or making a responsible decision to do the right thing,” he said. was the embankment after he tore up a group of motorcycles.”
Chase called the attempt to accuse Mazza a “fantastic story” and a “frivolous diversion”, and Zhukovsky, who did not testify at trial, told investigators, “Obviously, I caused the crash.” He reminded the jury that he had caused
“He was very clear from the beginning that he caused this crash,” Chase said.
Zhukovsky’s commercial driver’s license should have been revoked in Massachusetts at the time of the crash, as he was arrested for DUI in Connecticut about two months ago.
Connecticut state officials Massachusetts Motor Vehicle Registrybut Zhukovsky’s license was not suspended because of a backlog of out-of-state notifications for driving violations. I found a similar backlog issue at .
Associated Press Writers Michael Casey and Kathy McCormack contributed to this report.