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Defense attorneys for the truck driver charged accident that killed seven motorcyclists are asking Superior Court Justice to reconsider his denial of a bail hearing

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LANCASTER — Defense attorneys for the truck driver charged in the Randolph accident that killed seven motorcyclists are asking Coos Superior Court Justice Peter Bornstein to reconsider his denial of a bail hearing for Volodomyr Zhukovskyy.

Killed as a result of the collision were Albert Mazza, 59, of Lee, Daniel Pereira, 58, of Riverside, R.I., Michael Ferrazi, 62, of Contoocook, Aaron Perry, 45, of Lee, Desma Oakes, 42, of Concord, and Edward and Joan Corr, both 58 of Lakeview, Mass.

Arguing that the court “overlooked or misapprehended points of law,” public defenders Steve Mirkin and Jay Duguay said an evidentiary hearing would show that the state’s argument that Zhukovskyy was driving impaired at the time of the accident “is far from an established fact.”

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In their motion opposing bail filed last month, Coos County Attorney John McCormick, Assistant Attorney General Benjamin Maki and Department of Justice Attorney Shane Goudas said the truck driver had drugs including fentanyl and heroin in his system. They also argued he is a flight risk because he has immediate family in the Ukraine.

The defense said nine law enforcement officers had contact with Zhukovskyy after the accident, including two state police officers who interviewed him for over an hour, and none noted any impairment.

The motion for reconsideration said Zhukovskyy’s statements on whether he was impaired were inconsistent and at times contradicted his test results.

The defense said N.H. Forensic Lab results of Zhukovskyy’s blood tests came back negative for heroin as did the test on the two samples by NMS Labs. But then the motion said 12 days after the original report, NMS labs issued a second report that showed a very low level of heroin, generally considered below the limit of detection in one sample.

The defense argues the determination that Zhukovskyy was impaired at the time of the accident is an issue for an evidentiary hearing.

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The defense also argues that another “essential component of the state’s case” is the allegation that Zhukovskyy’s truck crossed into the opposite lane of travel and into the path of the JarHeads Motorcycle Club group. It points out The Crash Lab’s analysis of the accident, commissioned by the state, found the collision between the truck and the lead motorcycle driven by Albert Mazza occurred over the center line and the truck was pulled further to the left by a catastrophic loss of air in the truck’s front tire. Furthermore, the motion notes Mazza’s blood alcohol level shows he was well above the legal limit for driving while impaired.

The motion states the lab and accident reconstruction reports were not known at the time Zhukovskyy was arraigned and the defendant has been in protective custody at the Coos County Jail in West Stewartstown since June 2019. The trial is scheduled for November 2020, at which time Zhukovskyy will have been in custody for more than 16 months if he is not granted bail. That time line could expand as a result of the shutdown of many court operations because of COVID-19.

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The defense lawyers said the state must prove the releasing Zhukovskyy’s release would endanger his safety or that of the community. Responding to the state’s citing of his prior criminal record, the defense said it is not worst than that of numerous defendants “who are routinely released on bail”. The defense said Zhukovskyy is willing to live with his parents, surrender his passport, and agree not to operate a motor vehicle while out on bail. The motion noted the court can also order restrictions such as GPS monitoring, a ban on driving, and regular alcohol and drug screening.

Zhukovskyy, 24, of West Springfield, Mass., faces seven counts of negligent homicide, seven counts of negligent homicide-DUI, seven counts of manslaughter, one count of aggravated DUI and one count of reckless conduct in the June 2019 accident.

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