State registrar resigns amid NH crash probe

Agency should have terminated license of driver accused of killing 7

ERIN DEVENEY resigned as the state’s registrar of motor vehicles on Tuesday after it was discovered that the agency failed to act on information supplied by Connecticut that would have triggered the revocation of the commercial driver’s license of the man accused of driving the truck that plowed into and killed seven motorcyclists in New Hampshire on Friday.

Transportation Secretary Stephanie Pollack said the Registry of Motor Vehicles failed to act on information that Volodymyr Zhukovskyy had received violations for allegedly operating under the influence and refusing a chemical test on May 11 in East Windsor, Connecticut. That information would have triggered the termination of Zhukovskyy’s commercial driving license, which he was using last Friday driving a pickup truck pulling a trailer for Westfield Transport Inc.

Zhukovskyy, who lives in West Springfield, allegedly crossed the median line in Randolph, New Hampshire, colliding with the motorcyclists.

Pollack said Jamey Tesler, the chief operating officer of the Massachusetts Department of Transportation, will step in as acting registrar and launch a review of the Registry’s data sharing processes with other states to make sure Massachusetts acts quickly on any information shared by other states.

“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 in a statement.

Pollack’s statement contained the following information on Zhukovskyy:

He received a Massachusetts personal driving license April 25, 2013. He received a Class A license (CDL) on August 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 in August 2018.

The driving record of Zhukovskyy includes a violation on June 26, 2013, for OUI-Liquor or .08 percent and a disposition for that violation on June 16, 2013. He was under the age of 21 at the time of this violation and served suspensions and attended education classes for this violation including a youth alcohol program.

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 non-commercial license in accordance with Massachusetts law.

To the RMV’s knowledge, Connecticut failed to provide sufficient information through the federal CDL system (CDLIS) upon his May 11th OUI offense and refusal of a chemical test for the violations to automatically apply to his MA 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 11th OUI.  The online communication sent by Connecticut on May 29 did not contain sufficient information to automatically input Zhukovskyy’s OUI into his MA driving record and therefore did not automatically trigger the 7-day notification process for his non-commercial 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 MA.