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Police arrest driver in NH crash that killed 5 Marine vets, 2 civilians – heroin found at house and more

Highway Patrol investigating a vehicle accident. ( / file photo/TNS)
June 24, 2019

A man has been arrested after crashing his truck into a motorcycle group of Marine veterans and their spouses, killing seven and injuring several more.

Volodymyr Zhukovskyy, 23, of Springfield, Mass. was identified as the driver of the truck and trailer that caused the crash and now faces seven counts of negligent homicide and being a fugitive from justice, according to the Boston Globe on Monday.

The cause of the crash is still unknown.

Zhukovskyy could also be charged with drug possession after law enforcement discovered heroin residue in packets retrieved from his home.

New Hampshire State Police spokesman David Procopio told the Boston Globe via email that Zhukovskyy “has NOT been charged with the drug offense yet. The residue will be tested at the MSP lab and if positive for illegal narcotic, [Zhukovsky] will be charged additionally with that. At this time he is charged ONLY as a fugitive from justice,” in addition to the negligent homicide charges.

The crash occurred on Friday night when Zhukovskyy was driving a Ram 2500 pickup truck hauling an empty car trailer and collided with a group of motorcyclists from the Jarheads Motorcycle Club, a group dedicated to Marine veterans and their spouses.

“This tragedy marks the beginning of a very trying time for our club, friends, and family,” the club posted via Facebook on Saturday.

Five of the seven killed were Marine veterans and two were civilians.

The victims’ names were released as: Jo-Ann and Edward Corr, both 58, of Lakeville; Michael Ferazzi, 62, of Contoocook, N.H.; Daniel Pereira, 58, of Riverside, R.I.; Desma Oakes, 42, of Concord, N.H.; Aaron Perry, 45, of Farmington, N.H.; and Albert Mazza, 59, of Lee, N.H., according to the New Hampshire Office of the Attorney General.

The crash occurred just a few hundred yards from where the group departed from, and they were on their way to a fundraiser event.

Zhukovskyy is a Ukrainian native who has lived in the U.S. for 13 years, his brother-in-law Denis K. told the Boston Globe.

Zhukovskyy recently acquired his commercial driver’s license and was driving for his employer Westfield Transport at the time of the crash. The company has had no crashes in the past two years, and the owner said Zhukovskyy won’t answer his calls.

Zhukovskyy was charged with operating a vehicle under the influence in June 2013, after which his license was suspended for 210 days and he was deemed an “immediate threat,” his record showed.

His record showed several other violations, infractions, and accidents.

Denis K. said his Zhukovskyy “looked like a person who went to hell” after the crash. He prayed together with his parents, locked himself in his room, and wouldn’t eat.

Witnesses said the crash scene was “devastating” with bodies scattered across the highway.

A GoFundMe has been set up for the victims and families, raising more than $348,000 as of Monday.