U.S. Immigration and Custom Enforcement officials have placed a detainer on the Ukrainian man charged with seven counts of negligent homicide in a fiery crash last week that killed five Marine motorcyclists and two spouses in a small New Hampshire town.
Zhukovskyy, 23, was working as a driver for Springfield, Massachusetts-based company Westfield Transport at the time of the crash. It was reported by investigators that Zhukovskyy was driving erratically while pulling a flatbed trailer with a pick-up truck. Zhukovskyy crossed over into the center lane on the highway and hit a group of motorcyclists from a New England motorcycle club called Marine JarHeads, which included Marine veterans and their spouses.
The Marine JarHeads club was riding to be part of a charity event at a local American Legion chapter when the accident happened. Manny Ribeiro, president of the motorcycle club, indicated that the flatbed trailer collided with most of his biker friends that rode behind him, with the pick-up truck exploding into flames immediately after the crash. Five Marines and two spouses were killed in the horrible accident.
Zhukovskyy was questioned at the scene on Friday and was released. However, on Monday, he was taken into custody at his home in Springfield, MA on a fugitive from justice charge that was related to the accident on Friday. In addition, his license was suspended Monday as he was deemed an “immediate threat” by authorities, which makes the second time Zhukovskyy’s license has been suspended for this reason.
Zhukovskyy has had his license suspended several times for incidents including DUI and traffic accidents, and also shows a National Driver Register violation. Unfortunately, Zhukovskyy’s crimes were not just related to driving offenses, as he was also arrested in Texas in February for possession of a crack pipe, as well as other infractions that involved larceny like when he got caught stealing ladders from a Home Depot store.
The head of the Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles, Erin Deveney, resigned Tuesday after Connecticut officials were notified of the department’s failure to revoke Zhukovskyy’s commercial driver’s license after the Connecticut incident. If the revocation of Zhukovskyy’s commercial license had been reported like it should have been, he would not have had a valid license to get the job at Westfield Transport, and the accident could have been prevented.
Zhukovskyy’s lawyer entered a not guilty plea on his client’s behalf last week. According to U.S. immigration laws, an immigrant can be deported for committing a deportable offense, which includes crimes of moral turpitude and aggravated felonies. While not a truly reliable source, Zhukovskyy’s father commented on his immigration status and told the Boston Herald that his son had just been granted a green card. If not, due to his history of legal issues, he could face deportation back to his native Ukraine once released.