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A truck driver charged with causing the deaths of seven motorcyclists in 2019 deserves a bail hearing despite a judge’s ruling that he should remain jailed, a defense attorney argued before the New Hampshire Supreme Court on Tuesday.

Volodymyr Zhukovskyy, 25, of West Springfield, Massachusetts, has been in jail since the crash happened in Randolph on June 21, 2019. He pleaded not guilty to multiple counts of negligent homicide, manslaughter, driving under the influence and reckless conduct. His trial is scheduled to start on Nov. 29.

His lawyers asked a judge for a bail hearing twice in 2020 and again in April. The judge denied the requests, agreeing with the state that Zhukovskyy is a danger to himself and others.

Christopher Johnson, appellate defender, said among the issues in dispute are statements Zhukovskyy made to police after the collision; the degree and extent of Zhukovskyy’s impairment that day; the amount of reaction time available when the motorcyclists and Zhukovskyy came into each other’s field of vision; whether Zhukovskyy did react by braking; and his lane location.

Johnson added that Zhukovskky has maintained his sobriety while he has been jailed for the last two years.

Johnson also said the state, in its written arguments supporting the judge’s decision, relied on part of a statute that says people on probation have a right to a bail hearing. He said he didn’t think the Legislature would need to make that right explicit in the law for people who are not on probation.

“It would be an absurd result, I think, to say that probationers are the class of people more entitled to an evidentiary hearing than non-probationers,” he said, adding, “You give it to them, but not everybody else?”

Assistant Attorney General Scott Chase said the judge was not required to hold a bail hearing or use any specific method to assess Zhukovskyy’s dangerousness. He said evidence on that point was “glaring.” For example, there is no dispute that Zhukovskyy said he mixed heroin and cocaine before getting behind the wheel that day, Chase said.

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