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Driver Waives Arraignment in NH Motorcyclist Deaths

Volodymyr Zhukovskyy, of West Springfield, entered not guilty pleas on his behalf in court paperwork

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AP/NBC10 Boston

A pickup truck driver accused of causing a collision that killed seven motorcyclists in New Hampshire has waived arraignment on 23 charges saying he negligently caused the deaths and was under the influence of one or more drugs at the time.

A lawyer for 23-year-old Volodymyr Zhukovskyy, of West Springfield, Massachusetts, entered not guilty pleas on his behalf in court paperwork released Friday. Zhukovskyy has been jailed without bail since the June 21 crash in Randolph.

A county grand jury handed up indictments last month on seven counts of negligent homicide; seven counts of negligent homicide - driving under the influence; seven counts of manslaughter-reckless; one count of driving while intoxicated; and one count of reckless conduct.

Zhukovskyy crashed into members of the Massachusetts chapter of the JarHeads Motorcycle Club, killing seven and injuring several others. Investigators have said Zhukovskyy's Dodge pickup truck was towing a flatbed trailer as it traveled west on Route 2 when it crossed into the eastbound lane and collided with the group.

An affidavit unsealed last month revealed police investigating the crash had interviewed several witnesses who had claimed to have seen Zhukovskyy's pickup truck swerving on Route 2 before the incident. The document also noted that several calls were made to emergency responders to report Zhukovskyy's reckless driving.

In the weeks prior to the crash, officials in Connecticut had twice notified the Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles about a drunken driving arrest against Zhukovskyy. Despite the alerts, Zhukovskyy's license was not suspended, which prompted an overhaul of the RMV.

If convicted of all grand jury charges, Zhukovskyy could face up to 378 years in prison.

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