The trial of a commercial truck driver accused of causing the 2019 deaths of seven members of a Marine motorcycle club opened on Tuesday, more than three years after the crash in northern New Hampshire .
Jurors traveled to the crash site on Monday and traced Volodymyr Zhukovskyy’s route from a car dealership in Gorham along US Route 2 to the crash site in Randolph, about 10 miles away of the. Opening statements were delivered Tuesday at the trial, which is taking place in Lancaster State Superior Court.
The motorcyclists who died on June 21, 2019, were from New Hampshire, Massachusetts and Rhode Island and were between the ages of 42 and 62. They were part of a larger group that had just left a motel along the highway and was heading towards an American legion. Post to Gorham to organize an annual meeting.
They were traveling east when they collided with the westbound truck, which was towing an empty flatbed trailer.
The dead were all members of the Jarheads Bikers Club based in Whitman, Mass.
Edward and Jo-Ann Corr, a couple from Lakeville, Massachusetts, were killed; Michael Ferazzi, of Contoocook, New Hampshire; Albert Mazza, of Lee, New Hampshire; Desma Oakes, of Concord, New Hampshire; Aaron Perry, of Farmington, New Hampshire; and Daniel Pereira, of Riverside, Rhode Island.
In addition to the dead, several motorcyclists were injured.
Zhukovskyy, 26, of West Springfield, Massachusetts, pleaded not guilty to negligent homicide, manslaughter, driving under the influence and reckless driving. He has been in jail ever since.
Federal investigators said Zhukovskyy, who returned from delivering vehicles for a Massachusetts transportation company, was a regular drug user.
Zhukovskyy himself told police he had used both heroin and cocaine that morning, but was “well and could drive” later that evening, authorities said.
The driver of a pickup truck accused of causing one of the deadliest crashes in New Hampshire history has been charged with seven counts of negligent homicide.
His lawyers argued that an independent analysis showed that one of the motorcyclists who died was drunk and that he was the one who hit the truck and caused the accident. Federal investigators found that some of the riders and passengers were impaired by alcohol, but that was not the cause of the crash.
The National Transportation Safety Board approved a report in December 2020 that concluded Zhukovskyy’s drug-induced impairment was the ‘probable cause’ for him crossing the center line on the freeway and initiating the fire crash .
Prosecutors said Zhukovskyy should never have been on the road in the first place. His commercial driver’s license should have been revoked in Massachusetts due to a drunk driving arrest in Connecticut about two months earlier, they said.