LANCASTER, N.H. (WHDH/AP) — A pickup truck driver accused of colliding with a group of motorcyclists in Randolph, New Hampshire, killing seven of them, flipped an 18-wheeler in Texas just weeks before the horrific crash, police said.
Volodymyr Zhukovskyy, 23, waived his right to an arraignment Tuesday and pleaded not guilty through his lawyer to seven counts of negligent homicide. He was ordered to remain in preventive detention, with a Coos County Court judge citing his past driving record, saying it poses a potential danger to the public and himself.
Zhukovskyy, a resident of West Springfield, crashed a tractor-trailer truck in suburban Houston earlier this month, the Baytown Police Department told 7NEWS. They say Zhukovskyy claimed a driver cut him off, causing him to lose control of the rig.
Investigators in Texas were unable to confirm Zhukovskyy’s story. He was not charged.
In February, Zhukovskyy was arrested at Denny’s restaurant in Baytown and after officers say they found a crack pipe in his pocket.
New Hampshire State Police say Zhukovskyy was driving erratically and crossed the center line on Route 2 on Friday night, according to criminal complaints released Tuesday.
Zhukovskyy’s pickup truck, towing a flatbed trailer, collided with a group of 10 motorcycles, who were part of the Marine JarHeads, a New England motorcycle club that includes Marines and their spouses. Police say he was traveling west when it struck the eastbound group of bikers.
Records show Zhukovskyy was stopped on suspicion of drunken driving last month and in 2013. Connecticut prosecutors say he was arrested May 11 in an East Windsor Walmart parking lot after failing a sobriety test.
Additionally, Zhukovskyy was arrested on a drunken driving charge in 2013 in Westfield, Massachusetts, state motor vehicle records show.
Funerals are being planned for the victims, who were riding to a fundraiser when they were wiped out. Four were from New Hampshire, two from Massachusetts and one from Rhode Island.
Zhukovskyy was arrested Monday morning at his home in West Springfield. He was handed over to New Hampshire authorities after a brief court appearance.
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