Trucker acquitted in 2019 New Hampshire motorcycle crash
August 10, 2022
•Land Line Staff
A jury deliberated less than three hours before acquitting a commercial truck driver of charges related to the death of seven motorcyclists in a 2019 crash in New Hampshire.
Volodymyr Zhukovskyy, 26, of West Springfield, Mass., was found innocent on seven counts of manslaughter, seven counts of negligent homicide and one count of reckless conduct, reports The Associated Press. He has been jailed since the collision on June 21, 2019, in Randolph, N.H.
Before the crash, he was arrested in February 2019 at a Denny’s restaurant by Baytown, Texas, Police. A body camera recording of the arrest was published on YouTube.
The two-week trial exposed flaws in the processing of license revocations across states.
The seven who died were part of a Marines motorcycle club. They ranged in age from 42 to 62 and were from New Hampshire, Massachusetts and Rhode Island. They were headed to an American Legion Post for a fundraising event.
Prosecutors had argued that Zhukovskyy had taken heroin, fentanyl and cocaine that day. They said he repeatedly swerved back and forth before the head-on crash and told police he caused it.
However, after the prosecution rested its case a judge dismissed eight charges related to whether he was impaired due to insufficient evidence that he was impaired at the time of the collision.
Closing arguments noted that the lead motorcyclist was drunk, with a blood-alcohol level nearly twice the legal level, according to an account on Mass Live. Others in the motorcycle group also were found to have been impaired by drinking alcohol. A defense witness, a crash reconstruction analyst, said the lead motorcyclist caused the collision by hitting Zhukovskyy’s truck.
The prosecution said Zhukovskyy’s negligent and reckless driving caused the wreck.
Blaming government agencies
In September 2020, Land Line columnist John Bendel criticized coverage of the crash that laid blame on government agencies that should have prevented Zhukovskyy from legally driving. He said it was too obvious and simple to do that. The deeper cause, he asserted, was truckload carrier competition driving down driver pay in a race to the bottom.