Driver, transportation company sued over N.H. crash that killed seven people
A Marine veteran injured last month in a fiery crash in Randolph, N.H., is suing a trucking company and the driver accused of causing the collision, which killed seven.
Attorney John Haymond, who represents Joshua Morin and his wife, Joyann, said the lawsuit was filed Tuesday in Hampden Superior Court in Springfield. The complaint accuses driver Volodymyr Zhukovskyy, 23, and Westfield Transport Inc. of negligence.
Haymond said he is also planning legal action against the Registry of Motor Vehicles, which revealed Monday that its workers had ignored alerts for months about Massachusetts-licensed drivers who had allegedly broken driving laws in other states. Governor Charlie Baker called the revelations “completely unacceptable,” and the agency’s longtime leader, Erin Deveney, resigned last week.
“It’s very clear to me that there’s some negligence that has taken place on behalf of the RMV,” said Haymond, whose law practice is based in Hartford. “The governor of Massachusetts has even acknowledged that they were negligent.”
Morin, 45, fractured three bones in his left leg and sustained lacerations, abrasions, and other injuries. He remains hospitalized at Maine Medical Center, Haymond said. His medical expenses and financial losses have topped $452,000 so far, court papers show.
The lawsuit singles out Westfield Transport for hiring Zhukovskyy, describing him as an inexperienced driver with a history of motor vehicle offenses including charges for drunken driving.
Westfield Transport owed a duty to Morin and the public “to avoid the selection or retention of an employee whom it knew or should have known to be a person unfit to operate a motor vehicle in public,” the lawsuit said.
Zhukovskyy, of West Springfield, was on his second assignment for the company on June 21 when authorities say the 2016 Dodge 2500 pickup truck he was driving crossed a double yellow line on Route 2 in Randolph. His truck, which was towing a trailer, allegedly collided with about 10 motorcycles headed in the opposite direction.
Zhukovskyy’s driving history includes charges of impairment or traffic violations in six states, including New Hampshire, where he pleaded not guilty to seven counts of negligent homicide in the June 21 case and is being held without bail.
Zhukovskyy’s public defender was on vacation Tuesday, her office said, and couldn’t be reached. A man who answered the phone at Westfield Transport declined to comment.
Joyann Morin was driving behind the motorcycles and witnessed the crash, the lawsuit said. The motorcyclists were part of a biker group of former Marines known as the Jarheads Motorcycle Club .
Joshua Morin is an experienced motorcyclist who became a nurse following his military career and works for Southwestern Vermont Medical Center in Bennington, Vt., Haymond said. He and his wife live in Dalton, a town of about 6,500 residents next to Pittsfield.
“This is a man who truly gives to others,” said Haymond, who described Joshua Morin’s injuries as “life altering.” He said Morin was injured once before in a motorcycle crash in which he wasn’t at fault.
Funerals for victims of the crash are continuing.
On Tuesday afternoon, a memorial service was held for Aaron M. Perry, 45, of Farmington, N.H. In Massachusetts, dozens of motorcyclists led a procession at the funeral for Jo-Ann and Edward Corr, a married couple from Lakeville who were killed in the crash.
Next Monday, mourners plan to gather in Epping, N.H., for a service honoring 59-year-old Albert L. Mazza Jr.
Services have already been held for three others, including Daniel Pereira, 58, of Riverside, R.I.
His widow, Helen Pereira, said Tuesday that she hopes officials fix the problems exposed by the crash.
“I would hate for this tragedy to happen to anybody,” she said. “I hope it gets addressed the way it should so that no one else has to go through this.”