A Massachusetts man is facing 16 new charges after a New Hampshire grand jury handed up indictments related to the horrific crash in June that killed seven motorcyclists and exposed widespread problems at the Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles.
Volodymyr Zhukovskyy, 23, had been charged with seven counts of negligent homicide. The indictment added seven counts of negligent homicide while driving under the influence, seven counts of reckless manslaughter, and one count each of aggravated driving while intoxicated and reckless conduct with a deadly weapon: his 2016 Dodge pickup truck.
Authorities have said Zhukovskyy was high on drugs and reaching for a drink when the pickup he was driving with an attached trailer crossed over the yellow line on Route 2 in Randolph, N.H., and collided with a group of motorcyclists.
A number of those killed were members of Jarheads MC, a motorcycle club of Marine Corps veterans and friends from New England. Police have not said what substance Zhukovskyy was allegedly using at the time of the crash.
Albert Mazza Sr., 82, said Monday that the additional charges won’t help him recover from the death of his son, Albert Mazza Jr., a 59-year-old who served in the Marines.
“Nothing is going to bring him back,” Mazza said. “All I’ve got is pain in my heart and memories of him.”
He said he hopes Zhukovskyy is convicted and serves the maximum sentence.
“He didn’t care what he was doing,” Mazza said, pointing to Zhukovskyy’s history of reckless driving. “He had no conscience.”
Officials at the Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles have conceded that Zhukovskyy’s commercial driver’s license should have been terminated before the June 21 crash because he had been charged with drunken driving in Connecticut in May.
However, the agency failed to act on a notification of the charge from the State of Connecticut, along with tens of thousands of other notifications about lawbreaking drivers from other states, many of which piled up in boxes in the Registry’s storage rooms.
The massive bureaucratic breakdown prompted the head of the Registry, Erin Deveney, to resign in June, four days after the crash.
Thomas Bowes, the head of the Registry division responsible for processing the alerts, was fired in August, weeks after acknowledging he had stopped processing the vital paperwork from other states.
Zhukovskyy, a West Springfield resident, pleaded not guilty when he was initially charged with seven counts of negligent homicide in June and made his initial appearance in a courtroom in Springfield. His lawyer could not be reached to respond to the additional charges contained in the indictment on Monday.
Zhukovskyy has been jailed since the crash and is scheduled to appear in court in Lancaster, N.H., via video conference on Nov. 5.
Coos County Attorney John McCormick, who is prosecuting Zhukovskyy along with New Hampshire Attorney General Gordon J. MacDonald, declined to comment on the indictment.
Zhukovskyy’s troubled driving record began at age 16, when, according to court records, police in West Springfield found him and another man in a car that had crashed into heavy brush. Zhukovskyy was charged with driving without a license, speeding, and negligent operation of a motor vehicle.
He was arrested in June 2013 for drunken driving in Westfield, records say. He was sentenced in that case to a year of probation, and his license was suspended for 210 days, the Westfield News reported. There were no fatalities in that case.
Zhukovskyy was also cited for a lane infraction in February. His second drunken driving arrest, in May 2019, occurred in East Windsor, Conn., and was still pending at the time of the New Hampshire crash, according to legal filings.
Michael Levenson can be reached at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @mlevenson.