Head of Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles resigns over fatal NH crash that killed 7

The head of the Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles has resigned over the case of Volodymyr Zhukovskyy, the man accused of causing a horrific crash in New Hampshire that killed seven people.

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Erin Deveney resigned from her position effective immediately, Stephanie Pollack, the secretary and CEO for the Massachusetts Department of Transportation, said in a statement Tuesday night.

“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," Pollack said. "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.

"Effective immediately, former MassDOT Chief Operating Officer Jamey Tesler will take over as Acting Registrar of the RMV as I have accepted Registrar Erin Deveney’s resignation," Pollack said. "Jamey will lead an in depth review of the Registry’s state-to-state data sharing processes to ensure the RMV acts as quickly as possible on any information shared by other states.”

According to the RMV, an initial review of the driving record of Volodymyr Zhukovskyy has determined the following information:

  • Zhukovskyy received a Massachusetts personal driver's license on April 25, 2013. He received a Class A license, or CDL, on Aug. 3, 2018. Zhukovskyy's driving history did not have the number and type of violations that would have disqualified him under state and federal law from obtaining a CDL at that time.
  • The driving record of Zhukovskyy includes a violation on June 26, 2013, for OUI-Liquor or 0.08% and a disposition for that violation on June 16, 2013. He was under the age of 21 at the time of the violation and served suspensions and attended education classes, including a youth alcohol program, for the violation.
  • On May 11, 2019, Zhukovskyy received violations for alleged OUI and refusing a chemical test in East Windsor, Connecticut.
  • The Registry of Motor Vehicles follows a series of state and federal guidelines regarding license suspensions or revocations for various types of licenses. When an incident occurs out of state, that state provides information to the RMV to trigger these guidelines. The refusal of a chemical test results in the automatic termination of the CDL. The OUI would automatically trigger a seven-day notification process for suspension of his noncommercial license in accordance with Massachusetts law.
  • To the RMV's knowledge, Connecticut failed to provide sufficient information through the federal Commercial Drive's License Information System, or CDLIS, upon, system upon his May 11 OUI offense and refusal of a chemical test for the violations to automatically apply to his Massachusetts driving record. CDLIS notification would have resulted in an immediate termination of his CDL.
  • On May 29, the Connecticut DMV sent a communication to the RMV through the American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators messaging system, the state-to-state messaging system for registries, regarding Zhukovskyy's May 11 OUI. The online communication sent by Connecticut on May 29 did not contain sufficient information to automatically input Zhukovskyy's OUI into his Massachusetts driving record and therefore did not automatically trigger the seven-day notification process for his noncommercial license suspension in accordance with Massachusetts law.
  • While the RMV system could not automatically process the communication, it generated a notification requiring manual review. This review had not been performed by RMV personnel as of June 23, which is why the May 11 chemical test refusal does not appear on Zhukovskyy's driving record and why his license had not been suspended in Massachusetts.

On Tuesday, a lawyer for Zhukovskyy, 23, entered a "not guilty" plea on his behalf in Lancaster, New Hampshire. Authorities said Zhukovskyy waived his arraignment on negligent homicide charges.

Zhukovskyy was arrested Monday morning at his Massachusetts home and handed over to New Hampshire authorities after he made a court appearance that day.

Investigators said the pickup truck Zhukovskyy was driving was towing a flatbed trailer when it collided with a group of motorcycles Friday on a two-lane highway in Randolph, New Hampshire.

Criminal complaints say Zhukovskyy was driving erratically, crossed the centerline and collided with the bikes.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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