'unbelievable' | 

Ukrainian-born truck driver involved in collision that killed seven US bikers is acquitted

Jailed since the crash, Volodymyr Zhukovskyy (26) appeared to wipe away tears as jurors reached their decision

A police photo of Zhukovskyy taken after the May 2019 crash

Neil FetherstonhaughSunday World

A young truck driver has been acquitted of causing the deaths of seven motorcyclists in a horrific head-on collision in northern New Hampshire three years ago.

Volodymyr Zhukovskyy (26) of West Springfield, Massachusetts, was found innocent on seven counts of manslaughter, seven counts of negligent homicide and one count of reckless conduct in connection with the June 21, 2019, crash in Randolph.

During a two-week trial prosecutors argued that Zhukovskyy — who had taken heroin, fentanyl and cocaine earlier on the day of the crash — repeatedly swerved back and forth before the collision and told police he caused it.

However, a judge dismissed eight charges related to whether he was impaired.

Zhukovskyy’s attorneys blamed the lead biker, Albert ‘Woody’ Mazza Jr, saying he was drunk and not looking where he was going when he lost control of his motorcycle and slid in front of the truck.

Jailed since the crash, the Massachusetts resident appeared to wipe away tears as jurors reached their decision after deliberating for less than three hours.

As the verdict was read he briefly raised his index finger skyward before leaving the Coos County courtroom.

Zhukovskyy’s family, some of whom attended the trial, said in a statement they were grateful to God, the court and the defense attorneys for an “honest and fair trial.”

“Our family expresses its deepest condolences to the family and friends affected by this tragedy,” the family said, describing him as a “very honest and kind man. He would never have done anything to hurt anyone.”

Zhukovskyy, who was born in Ukraine, remained in jail after a US Immigration and Customs Enforcement immigration detainer issued on him after the crash was executed following the verdict.

Zhukovskyy’s commercial driving license was supposed to be revoked in Massachusetts when the crash occurred because of a drunken driving arrest in Connecticut two months beforehand.

But it wasn’t suspended due to a backlog of cases.

“Our hearts go out to the victims and their families. Our trial team did an excellent job and we firmly believe that the State proved its case beyond a reasonable doubt,” New Hampshire Attorney General John Formella said in a statement.

All seven motorcyclists killed were members of the Jarheads Motorcycle Club. Mazza’s father, also named Albert, said he was stunned.

“Killing seven people and he gets off. That is unbelievable,” said Mazza. He described his son as a “good man” who devoted much of his time to charity, and said it was wrong to pin blame on him.

“It doesn’t make much sense,” he said. “There are seven people dead. There are seven families affected. It’s strange that he didn’t get something.”

The motorcyclists who died were from New Hampshire, Massachusetts and Rhode Island and ranged in age from 42 to 62. They were part of a larger group that had just left a motel along US Route 2 in Randolph.

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