The truck driver found not guilty on all charges Tuesday in the 2019 New Hampshire crash that left seven motorcyclists dead is in federal immigration custody ahead of deportation proceedings, officials said Wednesday.
Volodymyr Zhukovskyy, a 26-year-old from Ukraine, was taken into U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement custody at the Grafton County Department of Corrections in north Haverhill Tuesday pending an appearance before an immigration judge, an ICE representative told NBC10 Boston.
"Zhukovskyy has an extensive criminal history including three prior convictions of charges that included Possession of Cocaine and Heroin, Possession of Drug Paraphernalia, Driving Under Suspension, Furnishing False Information to an Officer and Larceny," the ICE representative said in a statement.
ICE filed the order that ultimately led to the proceedings in June 2019, the representative said after Zhukovskyy's arrest in the crash in Randolph. But on Tuesday, a jury took two hours to acquit Zhukovskyy of all 15 charges he faced, including negligent homicide, manslaughter and reckless conduct.
The defendant kissed his fingers and appeared to look upward after hearing the verdict, which left relatives and loved ones of the so-called "Fallen Seven" in tears in the Coos County courtroom and elicited shock and disappointment from New Hampshire's governor and attorney general.
Zhukovskyy's record of incidents on the road before the deadly crash in Randolph includes an arrest on OUI charges in 2013 in Westfield, Massachusetts, and in Connecticut in 2019 — he was allegedly found at a Walmart revving his truck engine and jumping around outside his vehicle.
Westfield Transport, the company he worked for, also has a history of violations, including seven for unsafe driving, federal vehicle safety data has showed.
Zhukovskyy's arrest prompted a scandal at the Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles, where his record included information that would have led to the revocation of his drivers license. An RMV worker accessed his driving record in the weeks prior to the Randolph crash but quickly closed the file, according to an audit.
Prosecutors in New Hampshire had argued that Zhukovskyy, who had taken heroin, fentanyl and cocaine the day of the crash, repeatedly swerved back and forth before it happened and told police he caused it. But a judge dismissed eight charges related to whether he was impaired, and his attorney blamed the lead biker, saying he lost control of his motorcycle and collided with the truck while driving drunk.
The motorcyclists who died were members of the Jarheads Motorcycle Club from New Hampshire, Massachusetts and Rhode Island and ranged in age from 42 to 62. They were part of a larger group that had just left a motel along the highway and were headed to an American Legion Post in Gorham for a fundraiser.