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Report: Massachusetts DMV failed to heed out-of-state warnings prior to N.H. motorcycle crash

  • 6/24/2019 -Springfield, Ma.- Volodymyr Zhukovskyy of West Springfield stands during his arraignment in Hampton District Court on charges stemming from a crash that took the life of 7 motorcyclists in a crash in New Hampshire on June 22, 2019. (Don Treeger / The Republican) Treeger

Associated Press
Published: 7/1/2019 5:37:03 PM

The Massachusetts motor vehicle department wasn’t properly processing out-of-state notifications about driving offenses, instead putting them into storage bins where they were left untouched, an investigation found.

The interim report released by the Massachusetts Department of Transportation was sparked by the New Hampshire motorcycle crash that killed seven.

Connecticut officials twice alerted Massachusetts about a drunken driving arrest against the truck driver in the crash, 23-year-old Volodymyr Zhukovskyy, the report found.

Despite the alerts, Massachusetts failed to suspend Zhukovskyy’s license. He has pleaded not guilty to seven counts of negligent homicide.

Out-of-state notifications had been placed in the bins since March 2018, the report found. A review of those records in the past five days has resulted in license suspensions against more than 600 Massachusetts drivers related to alcohol offenses.

Prosecutors in Connecticut said Zhukovskyy was arrested May 11 after failing a sobriety test. He refused to submit to a blood test, prosecutors said. His lawyer in that case said Zhukovskyy denies being intoxicated.

Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker said the state Registry of Motor Vehicles “failed to act on critically important information that had been previously communicated by another state.”

“This failure is completely unacceptable to me, to the residents of the commonwealth who expect the RMV to do its job and track drivers’ records,” the Republican said.

He went on to say that Connecticut had done nothing wrong.

Massachusetts Transportation Secretary Stephanie Pollack said investigators are still trying to determine why workers at the registry’s Merit Rating Board, which is responsible for maintaining and updating individual driving records, began storing the records instead.

More than 53 bins containing tens of thousands of individual notices were discovered, sorted by month and stored in a records room in the agency’s Quincy, Mass., headquarters.

Pollack said that as a result of the probe, changes have been made. She said out-of-state notifications are now being processed either on the day they’re received or the following day to avoid a growing backlog.

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