A Massachusetts truck driver, Volodymyr Zhukovskyy, was acquitted by the jury on Tuesday, August 9. The suit against Volodymyr charged him with causing the deaths of seven members of a Marine motorcycle club, back in 2019 in New Hampshire. On August 9, he was acquitted of seven counts of manslaughter, seven counts of negligent homicide, and one count of reckless conduct.
The now 26-year-old has been in jail since the crash on June 21, 2019, in Randolph. Prosecutors stated during the trial that he had ingested heroin, fentanyl, and cocaine hours before the ghastly crash and had been driving recklessly, swerving back and forth before he slammed into the Jarheads motorcycle club’s procession. However, Volodymyr’s lawyers argued the lead rider of the processions, Albert Mazza had been drunk before he slid under the truck.
Volodymyr began to cry and briefly raised a finger up as he was read the verdict. The verdict was delivered after less than three hours of deliberation. In the closing remarks, Tuesday morning, the two sides raised questions about who was more “all over the place”: Volodymyr was accused of swerving back and forth across the road but the eyewitnesses were accused of contradicting each other. “There is no doubt that this accident was a tragedy, But we are not here to decide whether or not this was a tragedy.” said defense attorney Jay Duguay stated in the court. The attorney also remarked that members of the Jarheads Motorcycle Club have been protective of Mazza and the club, hence they have “shaded” many of their accounts. Prosecutor Scott Chase acknowledged some of their inconsistencies during the argument. However, he requested jurors to remember the circumstances related to the case.
What happened on June 21, 2019?
On June 21, 2019, seven bikers aged between 42 to 62 from New Hampshire, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island were traveling to American Legion Post. They belonged to the Jarheads Motorcycle Club, made up of Marine veterans. The motorcyclists had left a motel along the highway to prepare for an annual meet when tragedy befell. They had a head-on collision with the westbound truck, driven by Volodymyr, which was reportedly towing an empty flatbed trailer. Among those killed were Edward and Jo-Ann Corr, a couple from Lakeville, Massachusetts; Michael Ferazzi, of Contoocook, New Hampshire; Albert Mazza, of Lee, New Hampshire; Desma Oakes, of Concord, New Hampshire; Aaron Perry, of Farmington, New Hampshire; and Daniel Pereira, of Riverside, Rhode Island. Aside from the deaths, several bikers were also injured.
Volodymyr was on his way back after delivering vehicles for a Massachusetts transport company. He reportedly regularly used drugs. In fact, the driver himself told the authorities that he had used both heroin and cocaine on the morning of the incident, but said he was “fine and OK to drive” later that evening. Meanwhile, his lawyers have argued that an independent analysis showed one of the motorcyclists who died was drunk and was the one who hit the truck and caused the crash.