Truck driver in N.H. biker crash expected to make rare court appearance

The truck driver accused of killing seven motorcyclists in a head-on collision last year in New Hampshire is expected to make his first public appearance since his June arrest in Springfield, a court official said. Volodymyr Zhukovskyy, facing 23 counts including homicide charges for allegedly slamming into Jarheads Motorcycle Club riders while high in Randolph, N.H., is “anticipated” to be present for a trial scheduling hearing Thursday morning, a New Hampshire Supreme Court spokeswoman said Monday. Zhukovskyy waived his appearance in a June arraignment in a Lancaster, N.H., court and avoided facing supporters of the slain bikers who appeared at the Coos County Courthouse en masse.

Police arrested Zhukovskyy three days after the June 21 accident, and he appeared briefly in Springfield District Court on a fugitive from justice charge.

Jay Duguay, Zhukovskyy’s public defender, did not agree to a prosecutor’s proposed trial schedule including a plea deadline in August and jury selection in November, prompting Thursday’s 9 a.m. hearing.

In a separate filing from December posted Monday, Duguay also requested prosecutors hand over evidence from the New Hampshire State Police Collision and Accident Reconstruction team, claiming the state previously refused to provide the team’s raw data from the accident.

Three wrongful death suits and a federal lawsuit by the trucking company’s insurer have been filed since the fiery crash that killed members of the veterans’ bikers group.

Zhukovskyy faces up to 378 years in prison if convicted of the charges.