By Louis Casiano | Fox News
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has filed a detainer request against a 23-year-old Massachusetts man with a history of traffic arrests who is accused of killing seven motorcyclists in a fiery collision in New Hampshire last week.
The request means Volodymyr Zhukovskyy could face deportation back to his native Ukraine whenever he is released from custody. Zhukovskyy’s attorney entered a not guilty plea on his behalf to seven counts of negligent homicide Tuesday in Coos County Court in Lancaster, N.H.
A judge also ordered Zhukovskyy remanded in custody, saying his driving record poses a danger to the public and himself. The wreak has led to the resignation of the head of the motor vehicle division for Massachusetts.
The crash unfolded around 6:30 p.m. Friday on U.S. 2, a two-lane highway that passes through the small town of Randolph just north of Mount Washington.
Zhukovskyy was driving a Dodge pickup truck that was towing a flatbed trailer. Investigators said he was driving erratically when he crossed into the center lane and collided with several bikers.
The victims were members or supporters of the New England motorcycle club, Marine JarHeads, which is comprised of Marine veterans and their spouses. Club president Manny Ribeiro said he remembers an “explosion” and seeing most of the bikers behind him being wiped out from the trailer of the truck.
Zhukovskyy was driving for Springfield, Mass.-based Westfield Transport at the time of the crash. Witnesses described a “devastating” scene as bystanders tried to help the injured amid shattered motorcycles.
Investigators questioned Zhukovskyy at the scene and let him go. He was taken into custody Monday at his West Springfield, Mass., home on a fugitive from justice charge related to Friday’s collision. He was handed over to New Hampshire authorities after a court appearance that day.
Zukovsky’s father, who goes by the same name, told the Boston Herald on Monday that his son had just been granted a green card.
“I’m sorry for the families,” he told the paper.
The Associated Press reported ICE also was requesting details on the younger Zhukovskyy’s 2017 heroin and cocaine convictions.
Zhukovskyy had a series of traffic-related infractions. Last month, he was arrested in a Walmart parking lot in East Windsor, Conn., after failing a sobriety test. Prosecutors said officers responded to complaints about a man revving up his engine and jumping up and down outside a vehicle.
He also was arrested in 2013 on a drunken driving charge in Massachusetts. He was placed on probation for one year and had his license suspended for 210 days.
Erin Deveney, the head of the Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles (RMV), resigned Tuesday over its failure to terminate Zhukovskyy’s commercial driver’s license after the Connecticut incident. The RMV was notified of the arrest by the Connecticut Department of Motor Vehicles.
Stephanie Pollack, the state’s transportation secretary, said in a statement that she accepted Deveney’s resignation.
“The loss of life in any motor vehicle crash is a terrible tragedy and the massive toll this crash is taking on the families of the seven individuals who lost their lives, many of whom served this country, is impossible to comprehend,” Pollack said. “The Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles has a responsibility to enforce the laws governing the safe operation of vehicles and carries out its mission to the best of its abilities.”