No chance to argue for release to driver, who awaits trial in N.H. crash that left 7 motorcyclists dead

Volodymyr Zhukovskyy

A New Hampshire judge has denied Volodymyr Zhukovskyy’s bid to be released while he awaits trial in connection with a crash that left seven motorcyclists dead.

Zhukovskyy, 24, of West Springfield, wanted a new bail hearing and his lawyers were seeking his release under conditions, but a judge in New Hampshire denied the motion, according to court documents.

Zhukovskyy remains held after he was indicted on seven counts of manslaughter, seven counts of negligent homicide and several other charges in connection with the June 21, 2019, on Route 2 in Randolph, New Hampshire that left seven members of the Jarheads Motorcycle Club dead.

Lawyers for Zhukovskyy had also argued his Miranda rights were violated by investigators who questioned him after the deadly crash. The judge determined those rights were not violated.

Prosecutors contend that Zhukovskyy should remain in custody while awaiting trial. One of their arguments is that they are concerned he would flee the United States and head to Ukraine if he is released.

The defense lawyers for Zhukovskyy wanted him released on personal recognizance and under several conditions to ensure he would be monitored. The lawyers contend a review of the crash conducted by an independent firm hired by the state had poked holes in the criminal case.

In court filings, prosecutors listed numerous incidents showing Zhukovskyy’s history of drug use, impaired driving and admissions by Zhukovskyy about his daily use of drugs.

Prosecutors in the New Hampshire case also noted Zhukovskyy is a Ukrainian national with a status as a long-term permanent resident in the U.S. There is a detainer from immigration officials for Zhukovskyy in order to have him deported as well.

“Moreover, upon information and belief, the defendant has immediate family members currently living in Ukraine,” prosecutors wrote in previous court filings while calling Zhukovskyy a “significant flight risk.”

Authorities said Zhukovskyy had ingested fentanyl and cocaine prior to the New Hampshire crash and both drugs were found in his blood after the collision.

Zhukovskyy was driving a pickup truck while towing a flatbed trailer and was going west on the roadway while the motorcyclists were heading east on the two-lane road. The truck then collided with the motorcyclists, killing seven people, according to police reports.

Zhukovskyy was driving for the now-defunct Westfield Transport at the time of the crash.

Defense lawyers said the independent firm’s report on the crash shows the New Hampshire State Police reports about the crash are flawed.

Several investigators who had direct contact with Zhukovskyy after the crash did not note “any sign, symptom, or indication that Mr. Zhukovskyy was impaired at any point,” the lawyers said.

While state police said Zhukovskyy’s truck was 1.5 feet over the center line and in the eastbound lane, the independent report said the crash took place directly over the centerline.

The first motorcycle struck was being driven by Albert Mazza Jr., who died in the crash. Defense lawyers argue Mazza had turned around and looked back at the group of riders behind him before the crash.

Mazza’s blood-alcohol level was 0.135, which is above the 0.08 legal limit, at the time of the crash, autopsy results show.

Zhukovskyy should not have been driving at the time of the crash. He had been arrested in Connecticut roughly one month prior to the deadly New Hampshire crash.

In the Connecticut arrest, on May 11, 2019, Zhukovskyy was charged with driving under the influence.

The Massachusetts RMV was notified of the incident but never suspended his license.

Zhukovskyy was out on $2,500 non-surety bond in the Connecticut case when the New Hampshire crash occurred.

Prosecutors noted several incidents involving the Massachusetts man in court filings. Zhukovskyy overdosed in an Agawam parking lot, was caught with a crack pipe in Baytown, Texas in February 2019 and pleaded guilty to sufficient facts on a charge of driving while under the influence of alcohol in connection with a January 2014 West Springfield incident.

Court filings by prosecutors also said Zhukovskyy told investigators that after the New Hampshire crash he went home to West Springfield and consumed what he believed was heroin.

Zhukovskyy also told investigators he used three to four bags of heroin a day. He told officials at the Coos County House of Corrections that he was also detoxing from “dope and alcohol,” prosecutors said.

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Source: MassLive