SPONSORED:

Driver charged for driving truck through George Floyd protesters in Minneapolis

Driver charged for driving truck through George Floyd protesters in Minneapolis
© Youtube

A truck driver who drove his vehicle into a crowd of protesters on a Minneapolis bridge following the death of George Floyd was charged with two criminal counts.

Prosecutors allege the driver was seeking to "scare" protesters out of his way and argue he could see the protesters with enough time to stop before his truck reached them, the Star Tribune reported.

Hennepin County prosecutors charged 35-year-old Bogdan Vechirko of Otsego, Minn., on Thursday for making threats of violence and criminal vehicular operation. 

ADVERTISEMENT

The first count is a felony, while the second is a gross misdemeanor. 

Vechirko is not in custody, the Tribune reported.

Thousands of protesters were marching on the Interstate 35W bridge over the Mississippi River the day Vechirko drove his truck over the bridge.

Demonstrators were there to protest against police brutality following the killing of Floyd, a Black man whose death caused similar demonstrations across the country.

None of the people involved in the incident with the truck were seriously hurt. However, a criminal complaint reported at least one protester suffered abrasions after she attempted to jump out of the way.

When one protester fell to the side of the vehicle, Vechirko stopped and was attacked by protesters who vandalized his truck, his attorney Mark Solheim said.

ADVERTISEMENT

Vechirko told investigators it was not his intention to drive into a protest or hurt anyone, adding that he was on his way back from a fuel delivery in Minneapolis.

Authorities said the highway was closed as a precaution, but Vechirko's truck managed to enter through a downtown freeway system that was not barricaded.

At the time of the incident, Gov. Tim WalzTim WalzThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by the UAE Embassy in Washington, DC - Trump, Biden clash over transition holdup, pandemic plans Former Minnesota Democratic leader quits party Minnesota to close bars, restaurants, gyms for four weeks: report MORE (D) and Public Safety Commissioner John Harrington said it appeared the driver was confused about the road closures.

Solheim told the Tribune that Vechirko relied on "his professional instinct and training" when he approached the crowd on the bridge, adding that a hard brake could have "seriously injured or killed thousands of people," and that he had "instead slowed his vehicle while maneuvering through the parted crowd."

CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story misstated the misdemeanor charge levied against Vechirko. It is criminal vehicular operation.