Volodymyr Zhukovskyy’s overdose in Agawam one month before his crash that killed seven bikers last June in New Hampshire will be allowed in his jury trial, a New Hampshire judge ruled.
Witnesses who claim they saw Zhukovskyy drive his pickup truck and flatbed trailer erratically hours before the head-on collision may also be heard by a jury depending on an evidentiary hearing, New Hampshire Superior Court judge Peter Bornstein ruled late last week.
Zhukovskyy, the West Springfield man facing 23 counts including negligent homicide for the crash that killed seven bikers with the Jarheads Motorcycle Club in Randolph, N.H., remains in a New Hampshire lockup ahead of a scheduled November trial.
Prosecutors last month revealed Zhukovskyy’s May 5, 2019 overdose, in which emergency responders administered three doses of Narcan to truck driver before he became responsive. Zhukovskyy allegedly told Agawam police and fire he snorted three bags of heroin.
“Here, the defendant’s prior drug overdose demonstrates that he was aware, from his own personal experience, that his use of illegal drugs could result in severe physical side-effects such as general loss of consciousness,” Bornstein wrote.
Zhukovskyy, who was also indicted on seven negligent homicide-DUI counts, has disputed a private laboratory drug test that showed a small chemical amount indicative of recent heroin use. Public defenders for Zhukovskyy claim the chemical detection was below the lab’s policy limit.
Bornstein tossed another alleged confession of heroin use by Zhukovskyy when he told investigators “Well, I mean, I do heroin,” when discussing a semi tractor-trailer rollover in Texas just 18 days before the New Hampshire crash.
“As it has been represented by both the State, and the defendant, the defendant’s statement appears to have been disjointed and did not contain any causal language connecting the defendant’s use of heroin to the June 3, 2019 crash,” Bornstein wrote.
Zhukovskyy, who faces up to 378 years in prison, has a plea deadline in August.