CONCORD, N.H. (AP) — The driver of a truck in a fiery collision on a rural New Hampshire highway that killed seven motorcyclists was charged Monday with seven counts of negligent homicide, and records show he was stopped on suspicion of drunken driving last month and in 2013.
Volodymyr Zhukovskyy, 23, was arrested Monday morning at his home in West Springfield, Massachusetts, on a fugitive from justice charge related to Friday’s crash, the New Hampshire attorney general’s office said.
He was expected to make a court appearance on the charge Monday afternoon in Springfield.
Zhukovskyy was questioned at the scene of the crash and allowed to return to Massachusetts, the National Transportation Safety Board has said. The fugitive charge is standard for someone charged in a warrant in another state, Massachusetts State Police said.
Records show that Zhukovskyy was arrested on drunken driving charges last month and in 2013.
He was stopped by police in East Windsor, Connecticut, on May 11, state court records show. Details were not available; a message seeking comment was left for his lawyer in that case.
Additionally, Zhukovskyy was arrested for drunken driving in 2013 in Westfield, Massachusetts, state motor vehicle records show. He was placed on probation for one year and had his license suspended for 210 days, The Westfield News reported.
A man who answered the phone at the home of Zhukovskyy’s family and would identify himself only as his brother-in-law said Monday that the family is in shock and feeling the same pain as everyone else but couldn’t say whether the driver was right or wrong.
Since the accident, the brother-in-law said, Zhukovskyy had remained in his room, not eaten and talked to no one.
Zhukovskyy’s pickup truck, towing a flatbed trailer, collided with a group of 10 motorcycles Friday on a two-lane highway in the northern New Hampshire community of Randolph, investigators said. The truck was traveling west when it struck the eastbound group of motorcycles.
The victims were members or supporters of the Marine JarHeads, a New England motorcycle club that includes Marines and their spouses, and ranged in age from 42 to 62. Four were from New Hampshire, two from Massachusetts and one from Rhode Island.
George Loring, a JarHeads member who lives in Hingham, Massachusetts, and was a few hundred yards from the crash, said Zhukovskyy has “got to live with it for the rest of his life.”
“Everyone’s suffering so much,” Loring said. “It’s so sad for the brothers and sisters who died. You can be angry at him, you can be whatever. I don’t know. I’m glad he’s been arrested.”
Joseph Mazza, whose nephew Albert Mazza Jr. was killed in the crash, welcomed the arrest but admitted it was a poor consolation for the loss of a loved one.
“As long as he pays a price. He has caused lot of harm to a lot of families,” Mazza said from his Haverhill home. “If has a problem, he shouldn’t be on the road. If he is a bad actor, he doesn’t belong on the street. He caused enough of a tragedy. Enough is enough.”
Authorities identified the dead as Michael Ferazzi, 62, of Contoocook, New Hampshire; Mazza, 59, of Lee, New Hampshire; Desma Oakes, 42, of Concord, New Hampshire; Aaron Perry, 45, of Farmington, New Hampshire; Daniel Pereira, 58, of Riverside, Rhode Island; and Jo-Ann and Edward Corr, both 58, of Lakeville, Massachusetts.
This story has been updated to correct Zhukovskyy’s hometown to West Springfield, instead of Springfield, and corrects the spelling of his first name to Volodymyr, instead of Volodoymyr, per the attorney general’s office.