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Mass. RMV Chief Resigns As Info Is Revealed About Driver In N.H. Crash

National Transportation Safety Board investigators and New Hampshire State Police at the scene of the June 21 collision involving a pick-up truck and numerous motorcycles.
Peter Knudson
National Transportation Safety Board
National Transportation Safety Board investigators and New Hampshire State Police at the scene of the June 21 collision involving a pick-up truck and numerous motorcycles.

There's a change in leadership at the Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles after agency officials failed to pick up a May “operating under the influence” charge involving the truck driver accused in a New Hampshire crash that killed seven people.

The new registrar will lead a review of state-to-state data sharing processes.

"The loss of life in any motor vehicle crash is a terrible tragedy and the massive toll this crash is taking on the families of the seven individuals who lost their lives, many of whom served this country, is impossible to comprehend," Transportation Secretary Stephanie Pollack said in a statement Tuesday night. "The Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles has a responsibility to enforce the laws governing safe operation of vehicles and carries out its mission to the best of its abilities. But in this case, the RMV had not acted on information provided by the Connecticut Department of Motor Vehicles about a May 11 incident that should have triggered termination of this individual's commercial driver’s license."

Former MassDOT Chief Operating Officer Jamey Tesler will take over as acting registrar, Pollack announced, and the secretary has accepted Registrar Erin Deveney's resignation.

Tesler's review is designed "to ensure the RMV acts as quickly as possible on any information shared by other states," Pollack said.

Massachusetts officials said the truck driver, Volodymyr Zhukovskyy, on May 11 "received violations for alleged OUI and refusing a chemical test in East Windsor, Connecticut."

Refusing a chemical test is supposed to result in the automatic termination of the CDL, officials say, and the OUI would automatically trigger a seven-day notification process for suspension of his non-commercial license under Massachusetts law.

Connecticut officials initially "failed to provide sufficient information" about the May 11 incident through the federal system, and a subsequent May 29 online communication failed to include sufficient information, according to Massachusetts officials.

The online communication generated information requiring a manual review by the RMV, but that review was not done before June 23, the day of the crash that killed seven people who were riding motorcycles.

Zhukovskyy, 23, was arrested Monday morning at his family’s home in West Springfield, Massachusetts. He pleaded not guilty Tuesday to seven counts of negligent homicide. Each charge carries up to seven years in prison.

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement said Wednesday it has placed a detainer on Zhukovskyy.

Zhukovskyy is being held without bail at the Coos County House of Corrections in Lancaster, New Hampshire. A jury trial is scheduled for November.

This report was originally published by State House News Service, with additional NEPR newsroom reporting.

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