Lawyers list drugs in driver’s system in motorcycle deaths

New Hampshire

In this June 24, 2019 file photo, Volodymyr Zhukovskyy, 23, of West Springfield, the driver of a pickup truck in a fiery collision on a highway in rural Randolph, N.H., that killed seven motorcyclists, stands with his attorney Donald Frank during a hearing in Springfield District Court in Springfield, Mass. (Don Treeger/The Republican via AP, Pool, File)

CONCORD, N.H. (AP) — A truck driver charged in a crash that killed seven motorcyclists had fentanyl, morphine and a chemical found in cocaine in his system that day, and told authorities he often would take drugs before starting work, prosecutors said in a document made public Tuesday.

The morning of the June 21, 2019, crash, Volodymyr Zhukovskyy, of West Springfield, Massachusetts, consumed two baggies of heroin and half a gram of cocaine, prosecutors wrote in a motion objecting to Zhukovskyy’s request for a bail hearing.

Zhukovskyy’s drug use that day was “egregious,” not just because of what happened, but also because he was free on bail on a prior charge of driving under the influence in Connecticut, according to prosecutors.

The motion was in response to a request for a bail hearing for Zhukovskyy, which a judge denied. Zhukovskyy, jailed since the crash on a two-lane highway in Randolph, New Hamsphire, awaits trial in November on multiple counts of negligent homicide and DUI. He has pleaded not guilty.

Zhukovskyy’s lawyer argued last month that an independent analysis of the crash showed one of the motorcyclists was drunk and actually was the one who hit Zhukovskyy’s pickup and caused the crash.

Prosecutors said only that the findings from the analysis “still demonstrate that the defendant was not operating fully within his appropriate lane of travel at the time he collided with the first motorcycle” and then struck the bikers.

The prosecutors said Zhukovskyy is a danger to himself and others and should remain in jail. Nothing changes the fact that he was impaired that day and has a criminal history, they said.

The prosecutors also wrote that Zhukovskyy, a Ukrainian national, is a flight risk. The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency has filed a deportation request as a result of his charges.

The motorcyclists who died were members of the Jarheads Motorcycle Club, a New England group that includes Marines and their spouses. The victims were from New Hampshire, Massachusetts and Rhode Island.

Before the crash, Connecticut officials twice alerted Massachusetts about the drunken driving arrest against Zhukovskyy, but Massachusetts failed to act to suspend his license.

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