More than two years after seven motorcyclists were killed in a collision with a pick-up truck on Route 2 in Randolph, the truck driver involved is scheduled to go on trial in Coos County Superior Court starting Nov. 29.
Volodymyr Zhukovskyy, 25, of West Springfield, Mass., is charged with seven counts of seven counts of negligent homicide, seven counts of negligent homicide-DUI, seven counts of manslaughter, and one count of reckless conduct. He has pleaded not guilty to all charges in the crash that killed seven members of the JarHeads Motorcycle Club.
A final pretrial hearing is set for Nov. 9 with jury selection is scheduled to begin Nov. 16.
With the trial date approaching, both sides have filed a variety of pretrial motions with Coos Superior Court Justice Peter Bornstein.
the Coos County Attorney John McCormick and assistant N.H. Attorneys General Scott Chase and Joshua Speicher as well as have filed a variety of pretrial motions with
Public Defenders Jay Duguay and Steve Mirkin are asking the court to limit the state from introducing any evidence of Zhukovskyy’s alleged drug use to the day of the collision, June 21, 2019. The defense is requesting the state be barred from introducing police reports from prior incidents, statements made by him or witnesses, and evidence of drugs use found at his Massachusetts home when arrested. In particular, the motion specifies a May 2019 overdose in Agawam, Mass., that the defense argues has been previously litigated.
The defense is also asking the court to preclude any testimony from June 2019 conversations between Zhukovskyy and two correctional officers at the Coos County Jail, where the defendant is being held. Zhukovskyy allegedly told one of the officers he consumed ten bags of heroin and a bottle of Hennessy cognac liquor daily. The defense notes blood tests after the accident found no evidence of alcohol in the defendant and argues evidence of drug use should be limited to the day of the accident.
The state is asking it be allowed to introduce a 2014 misdemeanor conviction of Zhukovskyy in Stow Municipal Court in Stow, Ohio for providing false information to a police officer should Zhukovskyy testify in his own behalf.
The state has also filed a motion requesting that any evidence of alcohol consumption by the JarHead Motorcycle riders be limited to the lead rider, Albert Mazza. Mazza’s blood alcohol level was .135, well above the legal limit of 0.08. The motion points out that autopsies by the state medical examiner showed the other four motorcycle drivers had blood alcohol levels below the legal limit.
The state wants the court to limit testimony by the defense’s toxicological expert, Dr. Edwards Sellers and prohibit him from testifying about the cause of the collision, whether Mazza was impaired, and the truthfulness of Zhukovskyy’s statements about his drug use on the day of the accident.
The state has filed a motion requesting the jury be transported for a view of collision scene and to Berlin City Auto Group parking lot in Gorham where Zhukovskyy had delivered a vehicle just before the collision on Route 2. The motion said the defense has agreed to the request and splitting the cost of transporting the jurors.
Both parties have agreed to a defense motion to avoid any testimony about allegations of wrongdoing by Westford Transport. Zhukovskyy was on his third day of employment for Westford Transport and his first road trip for the Massachusetts company. The company faces criminal charges in U.S. District Court for Massachusetts in Springfield, Mass.
It is estimated the trial will take three weeks with the state witness list alone containing over 140 names.
Zhukovskyy is being held without bail at the Coos County Jail in West Stewartstown. Bornstein has denied his motion for a bail hearing three times and the defense has appealed the matter to the state Supreme Court.
The crash killed seven members of the Jarhead Motorcycle Club, made up of current or retired U.S. Marines and their families. Killed were Albert Mazza, 59, of Lee; Daniel Pereira, 58, of Riverside, R.I.; Michael Ferazzi, 62, of Contoocook; Aaron Perry, 45, of Lee; Desma Oakes, 42, of Concord; and Edward and Joan Corr, both 58 of Lakeview, Mass. Three others were injured.