• ITVI.USA
    15,999.700
    -30.820
    -0.2%
  • OTLT.USA
    2.805
    -0.004
    -0.1%
  • OTRI.USA
    22.190
    -0.030
    -0.1%
  • OTVI.USA
    15,985.320
    -31.230
    -0.2%
  • TSTOPVRPM.ATLPHL
    2.950
    -0.570
    -16.2%
  • TSTOPVRPM.CHIATL
    3.610
    0.650
    22%
  • TSTOPVRPM.DALLAX
    1.370
    -0.240
    -14.9%
  • TSTOPVRPM.LAXDAL
    3.550
    0.210
    6.3%
  • TSTOPVRPM.PHLCHI
    2.320
    0.220
    10.5%
  • TSTOPVRPM.LAXSEA
    4.110
    0.250
    6.5%
  • WAIT.USA
    126.000
    0.000
    0%
  • ITVI.USA
    15,999.700
    -30.820
    -0.2%
  • OTLT.USA
    2.805
    -0.004
    -0.1%
  • OTRI.USA
    22.190
    -0.030
    -0.1%
  • OTVI.USA
    15,985.320
    -31.230
    -0.2%
  • TSTOPVRPM.ATLPHL
    2.950
    -0.570
    -16.2%
  • TSTOPVRPM.CHIATL
    3.610
    0.650
    22%
  • TSTOPVRPM.DALLAX
    1.370
    -0.240
    -14.9%
  • TSTOPVRPM.LAXDAL
    3.550
    0.210
    6.3%
  • TSTOPVRPM.PHLCHI
    2.320
    0.220
    10.5%
  • TSTOPVRPM.LAXSEA
    4.110
    0.250
    6.5%
  • WAIT.USA
    126.000
    0.000
    0%
Driver issuesNewsTrucking

Surveying the damage to the trucking sector after a weekend of riots; it could have been worse

The trucking sector is looking over the landscape of rioting and looting in numerous American cities and counting up the impact on operations.

By far the most disastrous interaction between a truck and the protesters occurred in Minneapolis. A tanker truck appeared to have deliberately sped toward a group of protesters on a bridge on Interstate 35.

“Very disturbing actions by a truck driver on I-35W, inciting a crowd of peaceful demonstrators,” the Minnesota State Patrol said in its Twitter feed. “The truck driver was injured and taken to a hospital with non-life threatening injuries. He is under arrest. It doesn’t appear any protesters were hit by the truck.”

The driver of the truck was identified as Bogdan Vechirko. He was dragged from the truck by protesters, and was taken to the hospital with what were described as non-life threatening injuries.

The potential threat to drivers has been clear to those in the industry who remember 1992, and the attack on construction truck driver Reginald Denny. Denny was pulled out of his cab in Los Angeles when riots began in the wake of the acquittal of police officers who had been charged with assaulting Rodney King during an earlier arrest. Denny suffers from life-long debilitating injuries as a result of the attack. 

(A video of of the incident in Minneapolis can be seen here.

There was a trucking-related death in St. Louis, when a protester was dragged by a FedEx truck.

According to news reports, the truck had been on Interstate 70 going through St. Louis when it was forced off the road. But when it was on local streets it faced more local protesters and was forced to stop. 

According to the reports, the double-trailer FedEx truck was stopped by a group of protesters. 

Police statements about the incident said two protesters climbed on the running board of the tractor and pointed guns at the driver. Others had already begun trying to loot some of the freight in the twin trailers. 

That included a man who was between the two trailers. When the driver began to pull away, he was run over and killed. 

Although there were no  reports of injuries from an incident in Chicago, a startling video shows a UPS truck being looted before the driver manages to pull away.

The protests created a patchwork of road closures over the weekend; some officially confirmed with others more anecdotal. 

In Minneapolis, the epicenter of the protests and the site of George Floyd’s death, portions of interstates 35, 94, 394 and local highway 55 was closed overnight until the city’s curfew was lifted at 6 a.m. As of publication time, the Minnesota Department of Transportation had not published any updates on its Twitter site regarding further closures.

Other reports of closures came in from around the country. Interstate 630 in Little Rock, Arkansas was closed for several hours. Memphis also reported highway closures. Highway 101 in San Jose was closed due to protests. Ramps to downtown off interstate 90 were closed in Cleveland and Columbus, Ohio.

In particular, the reaction to the incident in Minneapolis led to a robust discussion on many trucker-related boards on the internet. As one poster put it: “Two weeks ago we were labeled essential and today we are labeled as murderers.”

In a similar vein of frustration, another driver posted this: “Stay home. Truckers are getting pulled out of their trucks by mobs on highways. Every city with a population over 20,000 is a potential problem spot. Just stop.”

A FreightWaves report yesterday highlighted the steps that Amazon and other companies were taking in reaction to the protests and riots. You can see that report here.

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.

One Comment

  1. They were not peaceful protestors if they were on a public roadway. They were preventing interstate commerce, isn’t that a federal offence? The right to protest ends where the rights of a peaceful societies to operate as normal begins. Peaceful protests are done on the sidewalks, with signs, chants, etc.. Criminals are those who block roadways, (jay walking), throw molotov cocktails, start fires, loot, all terrorism related actions; should be held liable for the consequences. Why are those that pulled the driver out of his cab not arrested? Talk about assault and battery! Put him in the hospital and they’re not arrested?

    If it were me, and I’m glad it wasn’t. I carry my “Reginald Denny” gun, that’s what I call it. Three magazines of 17 each, plus my carry weapon, only 10 rounds per magazine. I’d have emptied out my carry weapon, then sat in the sleeper with my RD gun, and picked them off as they entered my truck. This, only if I could not have escaped by driving away. If I had to drive over the threat to my life and safety to escape, people would have been hurt. So would I have been guilty of killing “protesters” in an effort to end the threat to my life and safety??? So in the case of protests, those law abiding citizens that have their life and safety threatened are not allowed to ensure their own safety? The police certainly can’t help in cases like this, they are just trying to protect as much of the city as they can, they can’t protect innocent citizens at the same time.

    What kind of world are we living in where thugs, these ARE NOT peaceful protesters, can terrorize the streets?

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