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The trial for a commercial truck driver charged with the deaths of 7 motorcyclists in 2019 began Tuesday in a New Hampshire Superior Court.
Volodymyr Zhukovskyy, 26, pleaded not guilty to negligent homicide, manslaughter, driving under the influence and reckless conduct on July 18, according to NBC Boston. The not-guilty plea came nearly three years after the July 21, 2019, crash in Randolph, New Hampshire.
The motorcyclists, originally from New Hampshire, Massachusetts and Rhode Island, were part of a larger group, Jarheads Motorcycle Club, en route to an American Legion Post for an annual meeting.
As they traveled east, they collided with Zhukovskyy’s westbound truck, which had a flatbed in tow at the time. He was returning from delivering vehicles for a Massachusetts transport company when the crash happened.
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The jurors visited the crash scene Monday ahead of opening statements Tuesday.
Zhukovskyy told police he had used heroin and cocaine that morning, saying he was “fine and OK to drive” later that day, officials said. Federal authorities later found he regularly used drugs.
Zhukovskyy’s lawyer argued in the past that an independent analysis showed one of the seven motorcyclists was drunk while on the road and was the first to hit the truck. However, federal investigators found that several of the motorcyclists and passengers were under the influence of alcohol but did not substantiate the cause of the crash.
In 2020, the National Transportation Safety Board approved a report that concluded Zhukovskyy’s drug use that morning was the “probable cause” of him crossing the middle line and causing the crash.
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Prosecutors have maintained that Zhukovskyy should have never been allowed to go on the road due to his commercial driving license being revoked in Massachusetts as a result of drunk driving arrest in Connecticut two months earlier.
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Fox News reached out to Zhukovskyy’s lawyer but did not immediately hear back.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.