By Andrew Martinez
A wrongful death suit against the company that pickup truck driver Volodymyr Zhukovskyy was working for at the time of a fatal crash with a group of bikers last year can go forward, a New Hampshire judge recently ruled, adding to the numerous lawsuits in the case.
A judge late last month tossed one of two counts in the suit from Mary Lou Welch, the common-law wife of Jarheads Motorcycle Club president Albert Mazza Jr., who was killed in the head-on collision in June on U.S. 2 in Randolph, N.H..
Westfield Transport, who employed Zhukovskyy and has since closed, attempted to get Welch’s claims of emotional distress and negligent hiring tossed after she filed the lawsuit in Strafford County Court last August.
A lawyer for Westfield Transport argued Welch’s emotional distress charge should have been dismissed because Welch wrote she could not remember seeing her husband in the wreck’s fiery aftermath.
Judge Steven Houran consolidated the two counts into a one.
“It is reasonable to infer that … (2) Mr. Zhukovskyy had a reckless or vicious propensity to drive dangerously,” Houran wrote, “and (3) Westfield knew or should have known about this propensity.”
Zhukovskyy is facing 23 charges in Coos County Court including homicide for allegedly slamming into the biker pack on a two-lane highway on a Friday afternoon, as the Jarheads were leaving a nearby motel.
Welch’s lawsuit cited Zhukovskyy’s troubled past of various drug, alcohol and driving offenses.
According to court filings, Zhukovskyy in 2019 flipped a tractor-trailer in Texas, was charged with drunk driving in May in Connecticut and faced charges in Iowa for “improper use of lanes.”
Zhukovskyy, who was licensed in Massachusetts at the time of the crash despite his past driving record, sparked a high-profile shakedown at the RMV which revealed serious lapses and led to the resignation of the then-registrar.
A third-party auditing company found an RMV employee did not make any changes to Zhukovskyy’s driving record before the collision after looking at his record for approximately seven seconds.
Two other civil suits, from a survivor of the wreck and a representative of the estate of a Massachusetts couple are pending in state courts.
Pilgrim Insurance Company, which insured WestfieldTransport at the time of the accident, has also filed a federal lawsuit against the estates of the victims of the crash, seeking to divide its $1,000,000 policy to victims through the court. Filings by parties in the federal suit are due next week.
Zhukovskyy’s criminal case is on track for a November trial and the deadline for any discovery motions or motions to dismiss the indictments are due by April 17.