It’s been a long three years since the horrific New Hampshire crash that killed seven members of the Jarheads Motorcycle Club on June 21, 2019. In the incident, truck driver Volodymyr Zhukovskyy was at the wheel of a 2016 Dodge pickup truck with a trailer attached. His vehicle crashed into the group of riders who were going in the opposite direction on Route 2 in Randolph, New Hampshire, killing seven of them and injuring at least three others.
Just three days later, on June 24, 2019, Zhukovskyy was officially charged with seven counts of negligent homicide. He later pleaded not guilty. Various delays—both related to the global pandemic, and also to the defense requesting additional time to find an appropriate crash reconstruction expert—previously kept the trial from starting. Finally, on January 12, 2022, the defense secured an appropriate expert, and the trial was at last scheduled to begin in July, 2022.
On July 25, 2022, the jury was taken to view the crash site in person, along with two other key locations related to the crash. Along with the stretch of Route 2 where the crash both ended and profoundly changed so many lives, jurors visited the place where Zhukovskyy had dropped off a car directly beforehand, as well as the motel that the motorcycle club members had just pulled away from.
On July 26, 2022, the first group of the 104 total witnesses scheduled to give testimony in this trial took the stand. They were the first people on the scene of the crash—and their reports are absolutely chilling. One said, “it felt like coming upon a plane crash.” Another said, “we saw dead bodies and debris everywhere.”
However, as had been previously projected by the defense team prior to the opening of this trial, the defense is arguing that it was the riders’ fault. Specifically, they state that the leader of the Jarheads Motorcycle Club, Albert “Woody” Mazza, was riding impaired and swerved in front of the truck, causing the crash.
As you may recall, a December 2020 report from the National Transportation Safety Board found no such thing to be the case. At that time, NTSB chairman Robert Sumwalt said, “The National Transportation Safety Board determines that the probable cause of the Randolph New Hampshire crash was the pickup truck driver’s crossing the center line and encroaching into the oncoming lane of travel which likely occurred because of his impairment from the use of multiple drugs.”
It’s always the victim’s fault, though, isn’t it? Especially if it’s a rider, and double that if it’s a group of riders. If you’re interested in keeping up with all developments as they happen, local news station WMUR is broadcasting directly from the trial, and videos can be found on its YouTube channel.