Lawyer: Report shows police account of crash 'deeply flawed'
CONCORD, N.H. (AP) — A report by an independent accident reconstruction firm shows a New Hampshire State Police account of seven motorcyclists killed in a collision with a pickup truck “was deeply flawed" and concludes that one of the bikers struck the pickup, the truck driver's lawyer said in court documents.
Volodymyr Zhukovskyy, 24, of West Springfield, Massachusetts, was indicted last year on multiple counts of negligent homicide and driving under the influence in the June 21 crash in Randolph. He's been in jail since and pleaded not guilty. Jury selection for his trial is scheduled for November.
Zhukovskyy's pickup truck, towing a flatbed trailer, was traveling west and the motorcyclists were traveling east on a two-lane road.
The motion seeking a bail hearing, filed Friday and made public Tuesday, said state police initially determined that the trailer was 1.5 feet over the center line into the eastbound lane at the time of impact.
The motion said the state recently disclosed a report from Crash Labs, an independent accident reconstruction firm, which shows the state police initial assessment “was deeply flawed," according to the motion filed by defense lawyer Jay Duguay.
Crash Labs “determined that the impact occurred directly over the center line" and that the motorcycle driven by Albert “Woody" Mazza Jr. “was in fact protruding over onto the center line when it struck the truck," according to the motion. It said the initial impact occurred between the left side of Mazza's motorcycle and the left front tire of Zhukovskyy’s truck.
Duguay says in his motion the report goes on to say that “the impact caused catastrophic air loss to the left front tire of the truck, which left a tire mark on the center line of the road. This tire mark had initially been attributed to an ‘unsuccessful avoidance maneuver' by Mr. Mazza, a position that the State has since retracted."
The state attorney general's office has an April 10 deadline to respond. The court will then determine if a hearing on the motion will be scheduled. A message seeking comment was left with an office spokeswoman.
The motion notes the state also provided information showing that Mazza had been turned around looking back at the group of riders behind him just before the accident and that autopsy reports show at the time of the crash, Mazza's blood-alcohol level was .135, well above the legal limit of .08.
“Given the dramatically different factual circumstances as they are known at this time, Mr. Zhukovskyy respectfully requests an evidentiary hearing on the continuing need for preventative detention," Duguay wrote.
Mazza, 59, of Lee, and the six others 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.
Mazza's common-law-wife had sued the trucking company that hired Zhukovskyy, saying it negligently hired him despite a troubled driving record. Her attorney, Chuck Douglas, said he had not seen the Crash Labs report and so he couldn't comment on Zhukovskyy's motion.
The negligent homicide-DUI charges accuse Zhukovskyy of driving under the influence of a controlled drug or drugs at the time of the crash. In August, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration said that a toxicology report showed Zhukovskyy was positive for an unspecified drug that made him incapable of driving safely.