Investigators announced Thursday that they have filed two criminal charges against a truck driver nearly five months after he was arrested for allegedly driving into a large crowd of protesters on the Interstate 35 west bridge near Minneapolis on May 31. The trucker was beaten during the incident and hospitalized.
Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman’s office stated that Bogdan Vechirko, 35, of Otsego, Minnesota, was charged with threats of violence, a felony, and criminal vehicular operation, a gross misdemeanor.
His first court appearance is Nov. 10. Vechirko is not in custody.
According to the Hennepin County complaint, Vechirko “admitted that he was kind of in a hurry” and that when he saw the crowd, “he hoped that if he went slow the crowd would let him past.”
The complaint states that investigators conducted a “thorough investigation” which showed that Vechirko “wanted to scare people out of his path.”
“In addition to traffic cameras, officers collected a number of cell phone videos that captured portions of the incident,” investigators stated in the complaint. “Various collected videos show that in addition to the large crowd, there were multiple vehicles stopped on I-35W northbound as the road approached the bridge and that a number of vehicles were driving the wrong-direction up an entrance ramp.”
Investigators also used a tractor-trailer similar to Vechirko’s rig to reenact his drive on I-35.
The video shows that Vechirko’s “line of sight would have given him sufficient time to stop his truck after viewing the crowd,” the complaint states.
One person suffered scrapes and abrasions to her leg during the incident, according to investigators. Vechirko was pulled from his cab and beaten. It’s unclear if anyone was charged in his attack.
This is a developing story.
Read more articles by FreightWaves Senior Editor Clarissa Hawes
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