The Boston Globe has published details of a federal report on the June 21 crash that killed seven motorcyclists in New Hampshire. The report says the accused driver was high, and reaching for a drink at the time of the collision.
The horrifying crash immediately grabbed attention due to the number of fatalities involved; three other motorcyclists were also injured in the event. The fallout was just as shocking, with revelations that the driver accused in the crash, 23-year-old Volodymyr Zhukovskyy, had seven years of driving arrests and tickets on his record, including a drunk driving arrest in 2013. A more recent run-in with police in Connecticut, in May of 2019, had seen Zhukovskyy refuse to take a sobriety test, and he was arrested for driving under the influence.
After the May incident Zhukovskyy’s commercial driving licence, issued by Massachusetts, was not pulled as per protocol. The state’s motor vehicle department had run into complications after switching its system for processing out-of-state traffic infraction information, and as a result, there was a backlog of drivers with trouble on their record that had never been entered into the computer system. In the weeks since, the department’s Registrar has resigned and the state has gone on the warpath, suspending the licences of many drivers.
The Globe got the details from the federal report (from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration) through a public information request; the feds declined to comment on the crash, and the earlier National Transportation Safety Board report was short on details as well.
The report said Zhukovskyy had tested positive for drugs that impaired his driving after the crash, but did not specify which drug or drugs were involved, except that it was either a narcotic or amphetamine, the Globe reports.
Zhukovskyy now faces seven counts of negligent homicide, and has pleaded not guilty in each case.