Mass. truck driver waives arraignment, pleads not guilty in deadly New Hampshire motorcycle crash

Volodymyr Zhukovskyy, 23, was ordered held in "preventive detention," court records show.

Volodymyr Zhukovskyy, 23, of West Springfield, stands during his arraignment in Hampton District Court, Monday in Springfield, Massachusetts. —Don Treeger/The Republican via AP, Pool

The 23-year-old Massachusetts pickup truck driver charged in a deadly New Hampshire motorcycle crash that killed seven bikers waived his arraignment Tuesday, court records show.

A not guilty plea was entered on behalf of Volodymyr Zhukovskyy, of West Springfield, in Coos County Superior Court in Lancaster, New Hampshire, according to filings.

Zhukovskyy, who was initially scheduled to appear before a judge Tuesday afternoon, faces seven counts of negligent homicide after authorities allege he collided with a group of 10 motorcycles while driving a pickup truck in Randolph on June 21.

A bail order filed in court Tuesday shows Zhukovskyy, who has a lengthy driving record, was ordered held in “preventive detention.”

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Judge Peter Bornstein wrote Zhukovskyy’s “criminal and driving history exhibit a pattern of operating a motor vehicle in a dangerous manner.”

“If released, he will likely present a danger to the safety of (the) defendant or the public,” the order reads.

Other court records show officials have scheduled a jury trial for November and December with jury selection set for Nov. 8.

In a criminal complaint, prosecutors say Zhukovskyy, an employee of Springfield-based Westfield Transport, was behind the wheel of a 2016 Dodge 2500 truck with an attached trailer.

He was heading west on U.S. 2, driving “erratically and across the double-yellow centerline,” before he struck the bikers from Jarheads MC, a club for Marine Corps veterans and their spouses, who were riding in the opposite direction, prosecutors said.

The crash, which happened around 6:30 p.m., killed seven of the bikers and injured three.

Coos County Attorney John McCormick, asked why Zhukovskyy was allowed to leave the scene of the crash, told reporters that authorities wanted to make certain they had probable cause for his arrest.

“This was a complex crash scene, a complex collision involving multiple motors, complex situation, and we wanted to make sure it developed before we made any rash decisions,” McCormick said.

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Zhukovskyy was arrested at his home in Massachusetts Monday and waived extradition in Springfield District Court.

On Tuesday, Bornstein granted an order from prosecutors to seal a probable cause affidavit amid the ongoing investigation.

McCormick would not say whether other charges would be filed as investigators continue their probe.

“As evidence comes in, we will make charging decisions based on that,” he said.