Driver charged in 7 motorcycle deaths has arrest records in 6 states

BOSTON – The 23-year-old man charged with seven counts of vehicular homicide after he collided with a group of motorcyclists in Randolph, N.H., has an even more troubling arrest record than previously thought, with drug charges and traffic incidents spanning at least six states, according to new reports.

Volodymyr Zhukovskyy of West Springfield, Massachusetts, is accused of crossing a double-yellow line on a rural highway with his truck and trailer and colliding with a group of bikers from Marine Jarheads MC, a motorcycle club that includes Marines and their spouses. He was driving for a Massachusetts truck hauling company.

The tragedy has sparked outrage: How could a man with such a checkered past possibly still have a license to drive commercial vehicles?

The Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles has admitted his license should have been revoked following a drunken-driving incident last month in Connecticut, resulting in the resignation of the registry's top official.

How did he still have a license? Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles boss quits after crash kills 7

And yet there were several more incidents involving drugs and traffic infractions leading up to the devastating accident.

Here's what we know – and are still asking – about Zhukovskyy, who has pleaded not guilty to charges as new details into his past continued to emerge:

Involved in rollover crash this month

Zhukovskyy was involved in a June 3 rollover crash in Baytown, Texas, near Houston. He was driving a truck hauling five cars on Interstate 10 when he flipped the rig onto its side.

WCVB-TV reported that Zhukovskyy told police he was trying to avoid a car that had swerved in front of him. He was driving a red Mack truck car hauler with a Massachusetts registration.

Police said there were no injuries in the accident, no signs of intoxication and no citations reported, according to the television station.

Arrested in Texas with crack pipe in possession

Also in Baytown, Texas, police on Feb. 11 responded to a 2 a.m. call of a disorderly customer at a Denny's restaurant. In video captured by a body-worn police camera released this week, Zhukovskyy is in constant motion and wailing his arms.

“I’m sorry guys. I’m just tired," Zhukovskyy says. "I need to go to sleep."

Police asked whether he was on drugs. He denied being on drugs but police arrested him for possession of drug paraphernalia after they found a drug pipe on him.

More: 'I need to go to sleep': Video shows prior arrest of suspect in crash that killed 7 motorcyclists

'Suicidal comments' and 'extreme behavior' in Connecticut arrest

Zhukovskyy's most recent arrest – which should have caused his commercial driver's licnsed to be taken away – occurred on May 11 in East Lindsor, Connecticut, after he failed a sobriety test.

Police had been dispatched after he was seen "revving his truck engine and jumping around outside the vehicle."

During that arrest, Zhukovskyy made "suicidal comments" and exhibited "extreme behavior," according to a report filed by East Windsor police, prompting them to send him to a Hartford hospital for treatment. He was released on a $2,500 non-surety bond.

Mass. department's failure allowed driver to keep license

Massachusetts state officials say Connecticut failed to provide sufficient information about the May 11 arrest through the proper channels outlined in the federal commercial driver's license system. Doing so, they say, would have automatically applied the charges to his Massachusetts driving record and result in the immediate termination of his commercial driver's license, according to MassDOT.

Connecticut instead notified Massachusetts on May 29 through the American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators messaging system. That generated a notification for RMV personnel to conduct a manual review of Zhukovskyy's record. They had not conducted it by the time of the crash, allowing him to still be licensed to drive.

Violations, arrests go back to teen years

Zhukovskyy's traffic violations go back to when he was 16 in 2012. He was charged with speeding, driving without a license and negligent operation of a motor vehicle in West Springfield.

Zhukovskyy's first drunken-driving charge was in 2013 as a minor in Westfield, Massachusetts. He was suspended, but it did not disqualify him from receiving the commercial license under state and federal law.

7 motorcyclists killed in gruesome collision, driver charged
7 motorcyclists killed in gruesome collision, driver charged

Arrests span 6 states

The Boston Globe reported that in 2014 he pleaded guilty in Ohio to driving with a suspended license, speeding, providing false information and possessing drug paraphernalia. That occurred while he was suspended from his 2013 OUI in Massachusetts.

His Massachusetts driving record does not mention the 2014 Ohio arrest even though Ohio records indicate officials were "to notify Massachusetts” of Zhukovskyy’s troubles, The Globe reported.

He was arrested in Connecticut in 2015 for third-degree burglary related to the theft of ladders and windows from a Home Depot, The Journal Inquirer reported.

Zhukovskyy was charged of drug possession in January 2017 in West Springfield after heroin and cocaine were found inside his wallet. His wallet had been found by an employee of a station. He was ordered to pay a $200 fine.

In addition to his arrests in Ohio, Texas, Connecticut, Massachusetts and New Hampshire, Zhukovskyy also received an improper lane violation in Iowa in February. The Globe reported he has arrests records in Iowa as well.

ICE could seek deportation

The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency this week placed a detainer on Zhukovskyy to take him into custody at the conclusion of local criminal proceedings, regardless of the outcome.

Zhukovskyy was born in Ukraine and had been a legal permanent resident of the U.S. since 2008. He's set for trial in Roos County, New Hampshire, in November or December.

His criminal history puts him in violation of his resident status, opening the door for ICE to have him removed to his home country.

Unanswered questions about the wreck

The seven complaints filed against Zhukovskyy say he was driving his 2016 Dodge 2500 pickup "erratically" before crossing the double-yellow line.

Prosecutors have not released evidence that led them to file criminal charges.

A defense from Zhukovskyy will presumably come out of future court documents in his vehicular homicide case.

The National Transportation Safety Board has teamed with local authorities to conduct an investigation into the wreck.

Day 3 working for company with numerous violations

His father, who has the same name, told the Boston Herald the wreck last Friday took place on his son's third day on the job with Massachusetts-based Westport Transport.

Records from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration indicate that the company Zhukovskyy was driving for, Westfield Transport, has been cited for various violations in the last two years, reported.

Contributing: John Bacon

Reach Joey Garrison on Twitter @joeygarrison.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Driver charged in 7 motorcycle deaths has arrest records in 6 states