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NTSB: Drug impairment likely cause of NH crash that killed 7 bikers

Published: Dec. 1, 2020 at 2:34 PM EST|Updated: Dec. 1, 2020 at 4:30 PM EST
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BURLINGTON, Vt. (WCAX) - The National Transportation Safety Board on Tuesday released its findings following an investigation into the crash that killed seven motorcyclists in New Hampshire.

The NTSB says that drug impairment was the probable cause of that devastating crash in Randolph, New Hampshire, in June 2019.

The board unanimously approved the report saying Volodymyr Zhukovskyy’s drug use was the likely reason he crossed the center line.

He had told police he regularly used heroin and cocaine, including the morning of the crash.

When he was arrested a few days after, Zhukovskyy told investigators he believed he was not high at the time of the crash.

His truck, which was towing a flatbed trailer, crashed into a group of 15 bikes. All the riders were members of the New England Jarheads motorcycle club. The five men killed were all Marines. Seven people died of blunt force trauma.

NTSB Chairman Robert Sumwalt said beyond Zhukovksyy’s role in the crash there were also multiple failures at multiple levels of the highway safety system.

“The system that is supposed to provide a safety net to protect us when we’re out on our nation’s roadways-- and unfortunately that safety net had multiple holes in it,” Sumwalt said.

The NTSB points to states not having tight enough procedures to find out if out-of-state drivers have suspensions or infractions.

It called out the company Zhukovskyy worked for, Westfield Transport, for egregious noncompliance with federal motor carrier safety regulations.

It also urged states including New Hampshire to implement motorcycle helmet laws.

As for this case, it’s still in the court process. Zhukovskyy has pleaded not guilty to multiple counts of negligent homicide.

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