Trial begins for NH truck-motorcycle accident with seven dead

Three years after a horrific motorcycle accident killed seven New Hampshire bikers and seriously injured several others, we are finally entering the early days of the resulting lawsuit.

The basic arguments of the prosecution and the defense are simple. Prosecutors said 26-year-old commercial trucker Volodymyr Zhukovskyy was impaired by cocaine and alcohol, which led to his collision with members of the Jarheads motorcycle club. Defense lawyers say it was the members of the riding club themselves who caused the accident, due to their own drunk driving.

In our previous coverage of the case, we laid out the basics for you. On June 21, 2019, Zhukovskyy (a Massachusetts resident) was driving his commercial truck in New Hampshire when it collided with the Jarheads, a riding club formed by former Marines. Seven runners were killed and three were injured; Zhukovskyy was charged with seven counts of negligent homicide. The investigation also uncovered evidence to suggest that Zhukovskyy shouldn’t even have been a licensed commercial driver at the time of the accident, due to previous issues with the law, but state authorities are not did not properly verify commercial driver’s licenses. As we told you in one of our previous stories:

In the months that followed, there were a series of shocking allegations; reporters discovered Zhukovskyy had arrest records in six states, including drug charges and traffic violations, and a brush with the law just weeks before the fatal crash that theoretically should have resulted in cancellation of its business license.

Massachusetts launched a license ban-a-thon after the crash, digging through its records and bringing down the hammer on other drivers who should have been banned but had evaded the system.

Originally, Zhukovskyy was to stand trial in 2020, but COVID-19 and the difficulty in finding a crash reconstruction expert to work for the defense interfered with that plan. He has been in jail since the accident, as he was considered a flight risk. His trial began on Tuesday July 26; the two brothers who owned the transport company he worked for are also expected to face trial in the future.

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