The driver behind the wheel in a crash that killed seven motorcyclists in New Hampshire in June told police hours afterward that he was reaching down to retrieve something when he hit the oncoming vehicles, according to a newly unsealed document.
Police investigating the crash interviewed several witnesses who claimed to have seen Zhukovskyy's pickup truck swerving on Route 2 before the crash, including a couple who were behind the pickup at the time of the collision. The document also noted that several calls were made to emergency responders to report Zhukovskyy's reckless driving.
Zhukovskyy, 23, crashed into the bikers — members of the Massachusetts chapter of the JarHeads Motorcycle Club — on June 21, killing seven and injuring several others. Investigators have said Zhukovskyy's Dodge pickup truck was towing a flatbed trailer as it traveled west on Route 2 in Randolph when it crossed into the eastbound lane and collided with the group.
The affidavit released Thursday and dated June 24 said authorities found probable cause to accuse Zhukovskyy in the crash after their investigation.
Zhukovskyy, of West Springfield, Massachusetts, has pleaded not guilty to negligent homicide. Officials have said Zhukovskyy's license should have been suspended because of a drunken driving arrest, a fact that has prompted a major review of the Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles.
The driver was interviewed about three hours after the crash at a nearby police department, telling the state police officers, according to the affidavit, that he took his attention from the road while reaching down to pick up an object from the foot of his vehicle's center console, causing him to cross into oncoming traffic and colliding with the motorcyclists.
The next day, state police interviewed a couple who were driving on Route 2 from their home in Maine on their way to a wedding in Vermont and said they were about two tractor-trailer lengths behind Zhukovskyy's truck when the crash happened.
Both told police that they saw the vehicle swerving — the husband, who was driving, said he saw it cross the double yellow line twice before the crash, and was about 3 feet into the eastbound lane when "the truck and trailer plowed into the motorcycles traveling eastbound."
Another driver, who was traveling behind the Maine couple, also said she saw the truck swerving before observing the crash, according to the affidavit, which notes the driver "said she didn't see the truck or trailer apply the brakes at all."
Police also interviewed the survivors from the JarHeads Motorcycle Club, a New England motorcycle club that includes Marines and their spouses. Many described the pickup "plow through the group," in the words of one member, and scenes of carnage that followed.
The investigation also included interviews with Littleton firefighters, who said they saw Zhukovskyy's pickup appear to be out of control earlier on June 21, and a couple who said their vehicle was nearly hit in the crash as well. Police reviewed Zhukovskyy's record and found driving violations in Iowa.
The Massachusetts RMV should have suspended Zhukovskyy's license over several prior incidents, but the state found that notifications that would have flagged his record were placed in bins. The RMV has since conducted a review and suspended hundreds of drivers.
Zhukovskyy has a court hearing Oct. 21 in Lancaster.