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Trucker charged with 7 counts of negligent homicide in crash that killed motorcyclists  3 Weeks ago

Source:   USA Today  

A truck driver was charged Monday with seven counts of negligent homicide in a gruesome collision with a group of motorcyclists on a remote New Hampshire highway.

Volodymyr Zhukovskyy, 23, was arrested at his home in West Springfield, Massachusetts, early Monday by the Massachusetts State Police Fugitive Apprehension Unit, the New Hampshire attorney general's office said in a statement.

"Mr. Zhukovskyy was taken into custody on a fugitive from justice charge," the statement said.

He was handed over to New Hampshire authorities after a brief court appearance Monday in Springfield, Massachusetts. Zhukovskyy looked down at his feet as he was led into the courtroom with his hands cuffed behind his back.

The crash Friday involved members of Marine Jarheads MC, a motorcycle club in New England that includes Marines and their spouses. A 2016 Dodge 2500 pickup, towing a trailer that hauls cars, collided with the group of 10 motorcycles in the small town of Randolph.

Zhukovskyy spoke with WMUR-TV before his arrest, calling the crash a "big tragedy."

"I'm trying to process this with my family," he said. "I'm feeling shocked. It happened so fast. I am cooperating with police. I feel mentally hurt."

Records from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration indicate that the company Zhukovskyy was driving for, Westfield Transport, has been cited for various violations in the last two years, MassLive.com reported.

There were two instances where drivers were in possession of narcotic drugs. Other violations including a driver without a commercial driver’s license, one for speeding and another for defective brakes.

The company did not respond to repeated requests for comment.

Zhukovskyy was arrested on a drunken driving charge on May 11 in East Windsor, Connecticut, state court records show. He was also arrested for drunken driving in 2013 in Westfield, Massachusetts, state motor vehicle records show. Following the 2013 arrest, his license was suspended for 210 days and he was placed on probation for a year, according to the Westfield News. 

Killed in last week's crash were Michael Ferazzi, 62, of Contoocook; Albert Mazza, 59, of Lee; Desma Oakes, 42, of Concord; Aaron Perry, 45, of Farmington; Daniel Pereira, 58, of Riverside, Rhode Island; and Jo-Ann and Edward Corr, both 58, of Lakeville, Massachusetts.

JarHeads president Manny Ribeiro, who survived the crash, said the group had just finished dinner and was heading to a fundraiser at an American Legion post in nearby Gorham. A total of 21 riders and 15 motorcycles were in the group. Mazza, who was riding next to Ribeiro, was among those hit by the truck.

“It was just an explosion … with parts and Al and everything flying through the air,” he said. “He turned hard left into us and took out pretty much everyone behind me. The truck and trailer stayed attached and that is why it was so devastating … because the trailer was attached and it was such a big trailer, it was like a whip. It just cleaned us out.”

After the crash, Ribeiro recalled seeing Zhukovskyy “screaming and running around” in the middle of the road before he was taken away by authorities. Motorcycles and bodies were everywhere, he said, and several people were yelling at Zhukovskyy, demanding to know what he had just done.

Tributes to the Corrs poured into Jo-Ann's Facebook page after the names of the victims were released. "Requiescat in Pacem (Rest in Peace). Together in life, together in eternity,"  the Rev. Don Bliss wrote. "We will hold your family in prayer."

Dot Pereira Clare wrote, "I am still in shock. I hope am going to wake up from this bad dream and you and I will be meeting for lunch as planned."

A GoFundMe page set up for the victims had reached more than $340,000 in pledges from almost 7,000 donors Monday.

Flags on public buildings and grounds across the state were flying at half-staff Monday to honor the victims. Two of the three people who survived with injuries were released from hospitals over the weekend. 

"Friday’s tragic accident in Randolph has struck our state and our citizens in a profound way," New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu wrote on Twitter.

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