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Driver issuesNewsTrucking

Police release tanker truck driver who drove into Minneapolis crowd

Police have released the driver of the tanker truck that drove into a crowd of protesters near Minneapolis on Monday, though his legal problems might not be over. 

The office of Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman said possible action against Bogdan Vechirko has been “deferred,” according to press reports quoting a statement from Freeman’s office.

A screen shot of what appears to be a document released by Freeman’s office and posted on Twitter said the reason for the release was that 36 hours had expired since the 35-year-old Vechirko had been taken into custody Sunday evening after driving into a crowd on a bridge on Interstate 35 in Minneapolis. The crowd was protesting following the death of George Floyd on Memorial Day at the hands of a police officer in that city.

Nobody in the crowd was hurt. Several people angrily pulled Vechirko out of his truck and assaulted him, which landed him in the hospital.

In a report about the release from television station KARE, Public Safety Commissioner John Harrington had been quoted a day ago as saying that it appeared Vechirko “was already on the interstate when barricades were set up to block traffic to ensure the safety of demonstrators.”

“Harrington said Vechirko was ‘running empty’ with no fuel in a tanker trailer and speeding when he encountered the crowd and ‘panicked,’ continuing to barrel forward at a high rate of speed,” the KARE report said.

”Prosecutors did not say whether they thought charging Vechirko remains an option,” the Star Tribune newspaper said of the driver’s release.

The Star Tribune story also quoted a relative, Art Loghinov, who said he had spoken with  Vechirko. The incident was “‘not his fault. He didn’t mean for it to happen. He didn’t have any intent to harm or do anything bad to anybody,’” Loghinov said, according to the story.

The story also said a PayPal account had been set up to raise money for Vechirko’s family. His wife is eight months pregnant.

John Kingston

John has an almost 40-year career covering commodities, most of the time at S&P Global Platts. He created the Dated Brent benchmark, now the world’s most important crude oil marker. He was Director of Oil, Director of News, the editor in chief of Platts Oilgram News and the “talking head” for Platts on numerous media outlets, including CNBC, Fox Business and Canada’s BNN. He covered metals before joining Platts and then spent a year running Platts’ metals business as well. He was awarded the International Association of Energy Economics Award for Excellence in Written Journalism in 2015. In 2010, he won two Corporate Achievement Awards from McGraw-Hill, an extremely rare accomplishment, one for steering coverage of the BP Deepwater Horizon disaster and the other for the launch of a public affairs television show, Platts Energy Week.

7 Comments

  1. Truck drivers were ticketed for blocking the highway in a peaceful protest so what gives these protesters the right to block a federal highway?

  2. The Freeway was closed AFTER he got on it. He had now way of knowing People would be on the freaking FREEWAY. would you? He had know way of knowing the freeway was closing.
    I live in MN, it is a disaster here, protests everywhere, blocks of buildings looted and on fire. he is innocent! MN is to blame and I hope he sues this state.

    1. Don’t be silenced Sandy! Your opinion and input is as valuable as anyone’s! Don’t let the likes of Andrew shame you into silence! First COVID, now this insanity.
      What foolishness to pander to protesters by shutting down a federal interstate highway, and stopping commerce!!! Let them protest in a park or on city streets.

  3. The Freeway was closed AFTER he got on it. He had no way of knowing People would be on the freaking FREEWAY. would you? He had no way of knowing the freeway was closing.
    I live in MN, it is a disaster here, protests everywhere, blocks of buildings looted and on fire. he is innocent! MN is to blame and I hope he sues this state.

  4. I would have done the same….those idiots on the freeway should never have been there. When a moron protester has more rights than a hard working, honest, just doing his job truck driver, that’s a problem. They were where they should not have been….he was trying to do his job. He should never have been arrested and I stand behind him 100%

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