A horrific crash in New Hampshire last June that left seven motorcyclists dead was actually the fault of one of the bikers – not the 24-year-old truck driver facing homicide and DUI charges in connection with the crash, a defense lawyer claims.
In a court filing made public Tuesday, attorney Jay Duguay – representing defendant Volodymyr Zhukovskyy -- cites a report from Crash Labs, an independent accident-reconstruction firm, according to FOX 25 of Boston.
In addition, a New Hampshire State Police report on the crash was “deeply flawed,” Duguay alleged in the filing.
Crash Labs determined that the motorcycle of Albert “Woody” Mazza Jr., one of the bikers who died in the crash, was “protruding over onto the center line” of traffic when it struck the truck that Zhukovskyy was driving, the station reported.
The Crash Labs report also says the state provided information that Mazza had been looking behind him at other bikers prior to the crash and that an autopsy revealed he had a blood-alcohol level above the legal limit, the station reported.
The June 21 crash led to the resignation of the head of the motor vehicle division in Massachusetts after a determination that Zhukovskyy’s driver’s license should have been suspended because of previous unrelated infractions.
The disclosures from the Massachusetts agency infuriated New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu at the time, with his spokesman blaming the crash on “deficiencies” within the neighboring state’s agency.
An auditing firm reported numerous organizational issues within the agency, including issuing nearly 2,000 driver's licenses to dead people.
New Hampshire State Police had determined that Zhukovskyy’s truck was a foot-and-a-half over the center line at the time of the crash, but Duguay claims the independent firm’s report disputes that assessment, FOX 25 reported.
The report goes on to say that a tire mark found at the center of the road was actually made by the truck, not by Mazza’s motorcycle, as State Police initially claimed but later retracted, Duguay’s filing says, according to FOX 25.
Prosecutors have until April 10 to respond to the lawyer’s filing, the station reported.
Mazza and the six other victims were members of the Jarheads Motorcycle Club that included U.S. Marines and their spouses from Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Rhode Island.
An attorney for Mazza’s common-law wife, who had filed a lawsuit against the trucking company for which Zhukovskyy worked, told FOX 25 he hadn’t yet seen the independent firm’s report so he had no comment on the Duguay filing.
Zhukovskyy has been in custody awaiting trial since last year, when he was charged last year with multiple counts of negligent homicide and impaired driving, FOX 25 reported, adding that jury selection is set for November.