CONCORD, NH – A survivor of a crash that killed seven other members of a Navy motorcycle club admitted on Wednesday that the lead rider had a dangerous blood alcohol level, but denied that the club president had swerved into the path of the oncoming truck.
Josh Morin was the last prosecution witness to sit in the trial of Volodymyr Zhukovskyy, the truck driver charged in connection with the June 21, 2019 crash in Randolph, New Hampshire. A judge on Wednesday dismissed eight counts related to whether Zhukovsky was under the influence of drugs or alcohol at the time of the accident, but ruled there was enough evidence to support the charges. 15 more serious counts of negligent homicide, manslaughter and reckless driving.
Prosecutors argued that Zhukovskyy, 26, who had taken heroin, fentanyl and cocaine that day, went back and forth several times before the head-on crash and told police that he had caused it. But his lawyer accuses the lead rider, saying he lost control of his motorbike and collided with the truck while driving drunk.
Albert “Woody” Mazza, president of the Jarheads Motorcycle Club, had a blood alcohol level well above New Hampshire’s legal limit of 0.08 percent, defense attorney Steve Mirkin said.
“What part of safety was being at the front of the motorcycle line with a blood alcohol concentration of 0.135?” he asked Morin. “Would you agree with me that this is not compatible with safe driving?”
Morin, a registered nurse, agreed, but said Mazza did not appear to be impaired. And he insisted that Mazza stay in his lane and that it was Zhukovskyy who crossed the line and caused the accident.
“He veered into our lane and hit Al,” Morin said. “We were close to the halfway line, so it wouldn’t have been all the way in our lane, but in our lane.”
Mazza and the six other motorcyclists who died were from New Hampshire, Massachusetts and Rhode Island and were between 42 and 62 years old. They were part of a larger group that had just left a motel along the highway and was heading to an American Legion post. for fundraising.
Morin, who was riding directly behind Mazza, suffered a serious leg injury and has had 25 surgeries since the crash. He said he remembered asking for his wife at the crash site as he was bleeding, but in retrospect he’s glad she wasn’t there.
“I think if I had seen her, I would have said goodbye and I would have died,” he said.