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Trucker involved in deadly crash found negligent as he seeks return of driver’s license

Volodymyr Zhukovskyy appeared via a video connection during his administrative hearing earlier this month.
Todd Bookman/NHPR
Volodymyr Zhukovskyy appeared via a video connection during his administrative hearing earlier this month.

A truck driver who was previously acquitted for his role in a horrific crash in 2019 in Northern New Hampshire has been found to have played a contributing factor in the collision as part of his appeal to restore his driving privileges.

Volodymyr Zhukovskyy admitted to taking cocaine and heroin the morning of the collision that killed seven motorcyclists, all members of the Jarheads Motorcycle Club, which includes U.S. Marines and family members from across New England.

Last September, Zhukovskyy filed an appeal with the New Hampshire Department of Motor Vehicles for the return of his driving privileges, which have been suspended since the crash. Earlier this month, he testified during an administrative hearing, saying that he was not to blame for the collision.

In an 11-page order released Thursday, Ryan McFarland, a hearings officer presiding over the case, found that Zhukovskyy “operated in a negligent manner which was unlawful and caused or materially contributed to the accident.”

Regarding Zhukovskyy’s drug use, McFarland determined that “while there is not sufficient evidence to conclude that [he] was impaired at the time of the accident, there is a reasonable inference that [he] was likely coming down from his drug use.”

A second hearing will now be scheduled to determine Zhukovskyy’s punishment for contributing to the collision. State regulators are seeking to suspend his driving privileges for an additional seven years.

The crash occurred on Route 2 in the town of Randolph, on or near the double yellow line, according to accident reconstruction experts. Witnesses during Zhukovskyy’s 2022 trial in Coos County testified that they saw Zhukovskyy, who was operating a pick up truck towing an empty car carrier, driving erratically leading up to the crash.

The lead motorcyclist, Al Mazza, was intoxicated at the time of the collision, according to a blood analysis.

Just weeks before the fatal accident, Zhukovskyy was arrested and charged with driving under the influence in Connecticut.

The Associated Press reports that Zhukovskyy, who is a Ukrainian national, has been ordered to be deported, but that his removal from the country is on hold due to the ongoing war.

Zhukovskyy appeared remotely during his first administrative hearing, as the state argued that it could not guarantee his safety should he appear in person.

No date has been announced for his disciplinary hearing. Relatives of those killed in the crash are expected to testify.

Todd started as a news correspondent with NHPR in 2009. He spent nearly a decade in the non-profit world, working with international development agencies and anti-poverty groups. He holds a master’s degree in public administration from Columbia University. He can be reached at tbookman@nhpr.org.