'Jarheads' rider from Dalton continues long recovery from deadly NH motorcycle crash
PITTSFIELD — Twenty surgeries since June and more ahead. That is life today for Joshua Morin, the Dalton man who used his training as an emergency department nurse to survive a horrific crash that killed seven fellow motorcyclists.
In an interview published Monday in The Boston Globe, Morin provided his first public account of what happened when a pickup truck towing a flatbed trailer came across the center line on U.S. 2 in northern New Hampshire and struck a staggered line of riders associated with the Jarheads Motorcycle Club.
Morin, 45, says he saw the pickup first hit the club's president and lead rider, his friend Albert "Woody" Mazza Jr., then come barreling straight toward him.
"I got hit by the truck right after that," Morin told The Globe. "He pushed everything into me and then he hit me and I went flying."
The driver, Volodymyr Zhukovskyy, 23 at the time of the June 21 crash, has pleaded not guilty to seven counts of negligent homicide.
Samuel M. Radner, Morin's attorney, declined Monday to allow his client to be interviewed by The Eagle, saying he needed to be present, as he said he was after inviting the Boston newspaper to visit his client last week.
Radner said Morin's training as a registered nurse allowed him to help caregivers during a 48-minute wait for an ambulance to arrive. Morin lay with his pelvis and left thighbone broken — with bone protruding through his jeans.
"He was bleeding out and saved himself, giving instructions to other people," Radner said. "He thought he was going to die."
The impact had also dislocated one of Morin's hands and a kneecap, along with separating a shoulder and breaking a finger, according to his account in The Globe.
It was while on his way to hospital care that Morin called for rescuers to give up trying to start an intravenous line, which was proving difficult because of the extent of blood loss. Morin told The Globe that he urged the team to instead drill directly into his bone marrow in what's known as an intraosseous infusion.
"I was like, 'Just drill me,'" he told the newspaper.
After 20 surgeries to date on his badly damaged left leg, Morin is able to move about with the help of a walker.
Radner said it remains unclear whether Morin will be able to return to work as a nurse.
"He's got a long battle ahead of him. He's doing better, but it's challenging, and not easy," Radner said. "Being a former Marine, he's very goal-oriented."
To help Morin and his wife, Joy, friends and supporters will hold a benefit event Nov. 3.
Radner said two legal complaints were filed in early July by Josh and Joy Morin against the driver and the company that hired him, Westfield Transport Inc.
"It's our position that he should of never been hired," Radner said of Zhukovskyy. The litigation is in the discovery stage in Hampden Superior Court and resolution remains distant, he predicted.
In the meantime, Radner says he sought publicity to inspire people to help the couple by supporting the benefit at the Polish Falcons club.
Maryellen Andrews, Joy's sister, said she has coffee with her brother-in-law every morning.
"Well, he has hot cocoa," Andrews said. "He's healing physically, but they still have a long road to work through."
Friends have been working since August to arrange the benefit, which will feature four local bands and a raffle.
In addition to Mazza, the six who died were Daniel Pereira, 58; Aaron Perry, 45, and his girlfriend, Desma Oakes, 42; Jo-Ann and Edward Corr, both 58, and Michael Ferazzi, 62.
Two other riders were also hurt in the June crash, but Morin's injuries were considered most serious.
The last local event on Morin's behalf was a widely attended vigil July 8 at Dalton American Legion Post 155. Morin was still hospitalized in Maine at the time, but was able to watch the event unfold, as Andrews walked about with her cellphone open to the FaceTime app.
The horror of the accident was still fresh at the time and the carnage all but incomprehensible, Andrews said Monday.
"I can't even," she said, not finishing her sentence.
Larry Parnass can be reached at email@example.com or by phone at 413-588-8341.
TALK TO US
If you'd like to leave a comment (or a tip or a question) about this story with the editors, please email us. We also welcome letters to the editor for publication; you can do that by filling out our letters form and submitting it to the newsroom.