The tanker truck driver who accidentally drove into a crowd of protesters in May is now facing criminal charges.
On May 31, 2020 on Interstate 35 west in Minnesota, Bogdan Vechirko’s truck encountered protesters on the Interstate 35 west Bridge. When the truck came to a stop, protesters began beating him.
Bystanders and police quickly intervened and Vechirko was taken into custody. Vechirko suffered cuts to his face, and his wallet and phone were stolen from his truck.
The highway was scheduled to be barricaded and closed off to traffic; however, it wasn’t — allowing multiple vehicles, including Vechriko’s truck, to enter the road way and putting protesters in danger.
Vechirko told investigators he had just made a fuel delivery and he did not mean to drive into the protest and did not intend to hurt anyone.
None of the protestors were injured in the incident.
Previously, the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension said that their focus to was determine the intent of Vechriko’s actions.
Vechriko was released from custody soon after the incident; however, authorities said they were still investigating the incident and said possible charges may still be brought against him.
“State Public Safety Commissioner John Harrington at first seemed to exonerate Vechirko on shortly after the incident and said he ‘panicked’ and wasn’t aiming for the protesters. But he reversed course a day later, saying, ‘we are certainly getting to the right charge that holds him accountable,’” the Star Tribune reported.
According to Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman’s office, on Thursday, Vechirko was charged with threats of violence, a felony, and criminal vehicular operation, a gross misdemeanor.