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Jury selection begins in trial of truck driver accused of killing 7 motorcyclists in Mass. in 2019

Volodymyr Zhukovskyy, right, listens to the prosecution with his defense attorney Steven Mirkin during a pretrial hearing at the Coos County Superior Court, Tuesday, Nov. 9, 2021, in Lancaster, N.H. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa, Pool)
Volodymyr Zhukovskyy, right, listens to the prosecution with his defense attorney Steven Mirkin during a pretrial hearing at the Coos County Superior Court, Tuesday, Nov. 9, 2021, in Lancaster, N.H. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa, Pool)

Jury selection will begin on Monday in the trial of a truck driver who is alleged to have killed seven motorcyclists in a collision in Randolph in 2019. Volodymyr Zhukovskyy, the driver of the truck, is facing charges of negligent homicide and driving under the influence.

Prosecutors allege Zhukovskyy, a Massachusetts resident who was 23 at the time of the crash, veered into oncoming traffic on Route 2 while towing a car carrier in June 2019. Zhukovskyy’s vehicle struck members of the Jarheads Motorcycle Club, which is made up of Marines, killing seven riders, and injuring others.

Toxicology reports allegedly showed Zhukovskyy had detectable levels of fentanyl, morphine and cocaine in his system at the time of the accident. He pleaded not guilty, and initially told officers he was reaching for a drink at the time of the crash.

Eighteen jurors, including six alternates, will be seated for the trial, which could last four weeks.

Prosecutors have submitted a witness list containing more than 120 names, while the defense recently submitted seven additional names. The trial was delayed last year after credibility issues were raised about the author of the defense’s accident reconstruction report. A key issue in the trial could be where on the roadway the truck and the lead rider in the group made contact.

Zhukovskyy remains in custody; he has failed to secure bail in three separate requests.

A memorial to the riders killed, dubbed the “Fallen 7,” was erected after the crash garnered national attention and an outpouring of support from veterans and other riders.

The crash also prompted a review of how state motor vehicle agencies, including in Massachusetts and New Hampshire, share information. Zhukovskyy’s license was suspended following a DUI charge in Connecticut, but that notice was never processed by Massachusetts. Later reporting detailed a massive backlog in that state’s processing of out-of-state records, as well as similar issues in New Hampshire.

This story is a production of New England News Collaborative. It was originally published by New Hampshire Public Radio.

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