July 7, 2019
Trucking Accident Lawyer
The truck driver involved in a gruesome crash in New Hampshire that took the lives of seven motorcyclists and injured others has just been charged with seven counts of negligent homicide, reports USA Today (https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2019/06/24/motorcycle-crash-truck-driver-charged-crash-killed-7-bikers/1547249001/).
Twenty-three-year-old truck driver Volodymyr Zhukovskyy was arrested in his Massachusetts home by that state’s fugitive apprehension unit for his role in the crash. Zhukovskyy was towing a trailer for hauling cars when he drove into a group of 10 motorcyclists who belonged to the Marine Jarheads MC, a New England motorcycle club composed of Marines and their spouses. According to police, the truck driver crossed a double-yellow line just before striking the motorcyclists.
Initially, new outlets discovered that the 23-year-old had a drunk driving charge just this past May in Connecticut and was also arrested for drunk driving back in 2013 in Massachusetts. However, more research has uncovered that Zhukovskyy’s driving history and criminal record are worse than first reported, leaving many people outraged that he still had a valid commercial drivers’ license at the time of the deadly crash. His license should have been revoked by Massachusetts last month in light of his drunk driving arrest, and since then, a top official with the state’s motor vehicle has resigned over the failure to revoke his license.
In addition to the two drunk driving incidents, Zhukovskyy was in a rollover crash with a truck in Texas. In the same state a few months earlier, he was arrested for having drug paraphernalia on him when police found he had a drug pipe.
His most recent arrest for drunk driving in Connecticut was troubling on multiple levels, with the responding officers reporting that he was jumping outside his vehicle and revving his engine at the time. He also displayed what police deemed as “extreme behavior” and made suicidal comments, which resulted in him being sent to a local hospital for treatment.
According to state officials in Massachusetts, Connecticut did not give them the information about Zhukovskyy’s May drunk driving charge via the correct channels as set out by the driver’s license system for federal commercial licenses. If Connecticut had done so, Massachusetts officials say the charges would have been automatically applied to Zhukovskyy’s license and would have resulted in the suspension of his commercial driver’s license.
Connecticut used the American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators messaging system to notify Massachusetts of the charge at the end of May, which generated a notice for Massachusetts officials to carry out a manual review of the truck driver’s record. Since they had not done that review by the time of the crash, he was still legally licensed to drive.
The 23-year-old’s history of traffic violations goes back to 2012, when he was just 16 and was charged with driving without a license, speeding, and negligent motor vehicle operation in Massachusetts.
Unfortunately, the system for commercial driving is not without its flaws, and it does allow drivers behind the wheel of a big truck who should never be there. If you’ve been in a truck accident, contact a trucking accident lawyer in Denver, CO for assistance.
Thanks to Richard J. Banta, P.C. for their insight into personal injuries and truck accidents involving smaller cars or motorcycles.