Driver on trial for death of 7 bikers had cocktail of drugs in system

The man on trial for causing the deaths of seven U.S. motorcyclists in a road traffic accident had a cocktail of drugs in his system, it is revealed

Jarheads Motorcycle Club

A man on trial for causing the death of seven members of a motorcycle club in a road traffic accident in the United States had a cocktail of drugs in his system, according to toxicology reports released by prosecutors.

In one of the most horrific losses of life to strike the motorcycling community in one incident, on 21 June 2019, seven members of the Jarheads Motorcycle Club, from New England United States, were killed when they were struck by a truck being driven by Volodymyr Zhukovskyy.

The motorcycle club was made up of Marines and their spouses. The victims were: Michael Ferazzi, 62, of Contoocook, New Hampshire; Albert Mazza Jr., 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. 

For now, Zhukovskyy – who was 23 at the time of his arrest - of West Springfield, Massachusetts, is awaiting trial on multiple counts of negligent homicide and DUI. He has pleaded not guilty.

In toxicology reports released by prosecutors on Tuesday, Zhukovskyy was found to have fentanyl, morphine and a chemical found in cocaine in his system. He is also reported to have told authorities he would take drugs before starting work, according to a Boston news outlet.

Prosecutors say the analysis ‘demonstrate[s] that the defendant was not operating fully within his appropriate lane of travel at the time he collided with the first motorcycle”

The new evidence was released in a motion to objecting his request for bail, with prosecutors concerned Zhukovskyy – a Ukrainian national - could also pose a flight risk.

Zhukovskyy’s defence hinges on independent analysis that one of the motorcyclists was drunk and hit his truck, causing the devastating sequence of events.

Tragically, it seems the accident was entirely preventable simply because Zhukovskyy shouldn’t have been on the road at all having accumulated a series of traffic violations, including a DUI and speeding. 

The revelation sparked outrage that he was able to gain employment with a delivery firm, or not been disqualified from driving entirely. Indeed, Zhukovskyy’s refusal to take a sobriety test in one of his arrests should have resulted in his licence being suspended. 

The case has placed major scrutiny on Massachusetts DMV for allowing him to continue driving after he was suspended for repeated infractions, despite twice being alerted by Connecticut officials.