DOVER — The partner of the one of the seven motorcyclists killed on Route 2 in Randolph last year wants to pause her lawsuit against the trucking company that employed the driver charged in the accident.
Mary Lou Welch of Lee, described as the common law wife of Albert L. Mazza Jr., president of the Jarheads Motorcycle Club, filed a civil suit in Strafford Superior Court last August against Westfield Transport Inc., of West Springfield, Mass., for emotional distress and negligence in hiring driver Volodymyr Zhukovskyy.
Last week, Welch filed a motion to stay her civil case because Pilgrim Insurance Company, the insurer for Westfield, has asked the U.S. District Court in Massachusetts to decide how to divide the $1 million policy among all the various suits and claims in the case.
The suit notes Westfield has insufficient assets to satisfy all the claims from the deceased riders and those injured in the collision along with family and friends. Mediation in the insurance case is scheduled for late September and Welch asked to stay proceedings in her case until Oct. 1.
Zhukovskyy, 24, of West Springfield, Mass., has been charged with seven counts of negligent homicide, seven counts of negligent homicide-DUI, seven counts of manslaughter, one count of aggravated DUI and one count of reckless conduct in Coos County Superior Court resulting from the accident. He has pleaded not guilty to all counts.
Welch said a group of Jarheads had just left the Jefferson View Motel on Route 2, traveling to the American Legion in Gorham. Mazza was in the lead while Welch said she and a friend, Joy Morin, headed out by car in case they wanted to leave the Legion early. As the two women backed up to leave, Welch said they heard a big explosion, saw a fire and bikes all over the road. She drove to the scene but was told to go back to motel and call 911. Returning to the scene, Welch said she tried to go to where she thought Mazza was but she was restrained. Welch said Mazza died before an ambulance could get to the scene.
Welch said Mazza had served four years in the U.S. Marines Corp and was a founding member of the Jarheads. Known as Woody, Welch said her partner “was affectionately known to all in the club and community because his energy, spirit, heart and soul, radiated wherever he went.” She said the pair had lived together for 10 years and most people thought they were married.
The suit charges Westfield owed a duty to the public to have safe and properly licensed drivers operating its commercial equipment on the highway. It alleges that over the six years prior to the Randolph accident, Zhukovskyy had twice been charged with driving under the influence, twice for drug possession, once for speeding and once for operating with a suspended license.
Furthermore, the suit said Westfield Transport has faced over 60 violations over the past two years including seven violations for unsafe drivers and 11 for unfit drivers. It said as a result of Westfield’s negligence Welch suffered emotional distress by seeing and hearing her husband die in a fireball.
An earlier motion to dismiss the case was rejected.