BOSTON (WHDH) - The head of the Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles resigned Tuesday after it was revealed that the driver of a pickup truck in a crash that killed seven motorcyclists in New Hampshire was awarded a Commercial Driver’s License in 2018 despite being arrested on drunken driving charges in 2013, MassDOT Secretary and CEO Stephanie Pollack announced.
Pollack said in a statement that she has accepted Erin Deveney’s resignation.
MassDOT Chief Operating Officer Jamey Tesler will take over as acting head of the registry.
“Effective immediately, former MassDOT Chief Operating Officer Jamey Tesler will take over as Acting Registrar of the RMV as I have accepted Registrar Erin Deveney’s resignation,” Pollack’s statement said. “Jamey will lead an in-depth review of the Registry’s state-to-state data sharing processes to ensure the RMV acts as quickly as possible on any information shared by other states.”
Volodymyr Zhukovskyy, 23, of West Springfield, is facing seven counts of negligent homicide. His truck, towing a flatbed trailer, collided with a group of 10 motorcycles on Friday on a two-lane highway in Randolph, killing seven of them, according to New Hampshire State Police.
Records show Zhukovskyy was arrested for drunken driving in 2013 in Westfield. His license was suspended for 210 days but the Bay State still awarded Zhukovskyy a CDL in 2018.
MassDOT says Zhukovskyy was under the age of 21 at the time of this violation. He is said to have served suspensions and attended education classes for the violation, including a youth alcohol program.
Zhukovskyy retained the license even though he was arrested in May in East Windsor, Connecticut, after failing a sobriety test in a Walmart parking lot.
Pollack said the RMV failed to act on information that was provided by the Connecticut Department of Motor Vehicles and that Zhukovskyy’s CDL should have been revoked before the deadly wreck.
“In this case, the RMV had not acted on information provided by the Connecticut Department of Motor Vehicles about a May 11 incident that should have triggered termination of this individual’s commercial driver’s license,” Pollack’s statement went on to say.
Pollack called the crash a “tragedy” that is “impossible to comprehend.”
“The loss of life in any motor vehicle crash is a terrible tragedy and the massive toll this crash is taking on the families of the seven individuals who lost their lives, many of whom served this country, is impossible to comprehend,” Pollack added. “The Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles has a responsibility to enforce the laws governing the safe operation of vehicles and carries out its mission to the best of its abilities.”
Zhukovskyy pleaded not guilty Tuesday through his lawyer.
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