A New Hampshire jury chose to acquit commercial truck driver Volodymyr Zhukovskyy of all charges on Tuesday in regards to a gruesome 2019 crash that left seven motorcyclists dead, the Associated Press reports.
Zhukovskyy, a 26-year-old Ukrainian national, was found not guilty on seven counts of manslaughter, seven counts of negligent homicide and one count of reckless conduct in connection with the June 21, 2019 wreck in Randolph, New Hampshire.
A group of motorcyclists belonging to the Jarheads Motorcycle Club were riding on Route 2, a two-lane roadway in the northern part of the state, when Zhukovskyy weaved into the oncoming lane in his 2016 Ram 2500 pickup that was towing a trailer, witnesses said. Seven people, ages ranging from 42 to 62, were killed in the crash. Six of them were ex-Marines.
A report released by the NTSB back in 2020 revealed Zhukovskyy was impaired by several drugs on the day of the incident, including heroin, fentanyl and cocaine. The agency also came to the conclusion the probable cause of the crash was Zhukovskyy “crossing the centerline and encroaching into the oncoming lane of travel, which occurred because of his impairment from use of multiple drugs.” He said in his own words during an interview he "crossed the [center] line" right before striking the group of motorcyclists.
Zhukovskyy's lawyer, public defender Jay Duguay, placed the blame on the group's lead biker, Albert “Woody” Mazza Jr., claiming he was drunk at the time of the crash and not paying attention to where he was going before losing control and crashing into Zhukovskyy's truck, the AP reports.
“Killing seven people and he gets off. That is unbelievable,” Mazza's father, also named Albert, told the AP. “There are seven people dead. There are seven families affected. It’s strange that he didn’t get something.”
Zhukovskyy has remained in jail since the incident occurred. He's currently in the custody of Immigration and Customs Enforcement pending an appearance before an immigration judge, a Homeland Security spokesperson told The New York Times. It's unclear when or if he'll be released.
“Our hearts go out to the victims and their families,” New Hampshire attorney general John Formella said in a statement. “We thank the court and the jurors for their service, and while we are extremely disappointed, we respect the verdict and our system of justice.”
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