Back in the morning of June 21 2019, a man by the name of Volodymyr Zhukovskyy used fentanyl, heroin, and cocaine before starting work in his 2016 Dodge Ram 2500 Tradesman crew-cab pickup truck.
That same day, another individual – a member of the Jarheads Motorcycle Club, a Marine veterans group – partook of a few handfuls of beer (to a blood-alcohol content of 0.135 percent) before continuing with his mates to the group’s fundraiser goal.
With Zhukovskyy driving under the influence back to Massachusetts, the group didn’t know what hit them until the damage was done; and between the ignited truck, bikes, and scattered remains, there was a lot to take in.
This high-profile case has garnered staggering coverage across the country, but the biggest factor has been that the case, according to RevZilla, had no winners.
“[Zhukovskyy] originally faced 23 charges,” explains the report, “but after the prosecution rested its case, the judge threw out eight charges that Zhukovskyy was impaired due to drug use at the time of the crash.”
“He still faced manslaughter and negligent homicide charges, but the jury needed only about two hours of deliberation to find him not guilty.”
The factors leaning the jury in favor of the trucker?
- Zhukovskyy’s driving was not considered to be affected by drugs at the time of the accident.
- Zhukovskyy may have eventually admitted to using drugs and driving under the influence, but the judge’s gander at his blood samples (taken more than 10 hours after Zhukovskyy’s morning medicating) rendered the evidence moot and it was dismissed.
- Whether Zhukovskyy crossed the center line and caused the crash was a biggie; if it was him, then the jury would have been more likely to side with the motorcycle group. Both sides, however, gave conflicting stories in the courthouse, which crossed out any headway to be potentially made in either direction.
All told, 8 of the 23 charges were tossed in favor of Zhukovskyy, who had been incarcerated since the crash.
This was the final straw in the system’s domino effect; Zhukovskyy’s transport company never checked his driving record, and his previous charges of DUI weren’t picked up for license suspension.
Naturally, ‘the director of the Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles resigned in the fallout from those failures, and Westfield Transport later went out of business after paying settlements to families of the victims.’
Stay sober, folks; a story like this is tragic for both parties – even for myself, who has to read of the heartbroken families bereft of a member who will never be returning home.
ATTGATT always, drop a comment below, and as ever – stay safe on the twisties.