Bogdan Vechirko could spend up to six years in prison if convicted
The man who drove his gas tanker into a crowd of peaceful protesters on a closed-down Minneapolis interstate in May has been charged with two felonies.
Bogdan Vechirko, 35, is facing a felony charge of threats of violence and a gross misdemeanor charge of criminal vehicular operation, according to a press release from Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman’s office, Star Tribune reports.
Vechirko, who was released from jail in June, reportedly admitted to investigators that he was “kind of in a hurry” when he nearly plowed through Black Lives Matter demonstrators on May 31. Thousands had gathered on the Interstate 35W bridge to protest the death of George Floyd, who had died days earlier while being detained by Minneapolis police.
Vechirko claims he didn’t intend to drive into the protest, but investigators noted in the criminal complaint 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.”
The Minnesota Department of Transportation released video showing the activity on the bridge leading up to the incident. The footage shows Vechirko picking up speed as he approached the protestors, hitting 70 mph. Officials stated in the complaint that Vechirko had adequate time to stop.
“Investigators reviewed traffic cameras and a number of cellphone videos, all of which showed protesters screaming and running in a panic from the truck,” the attorney’s office said.
“At least one individual, A.W., suffered injuries as a result of her attempts to get out of the way of the truck,” the complaint stated. “A.W. reported that she fell and suffered scrapes and abrasions to her leg.”
Officials noted that “the thorough investigation showed that Vechirko wanted to scare people out of his path.” No major injuries were reported.
Vechirko could spend five years in prison if convicted on the felony charge and up to one year on the gross misdemeanor charge.
Have you subscribed to theGrio’s podcast “Dear Culture”? Download our newest episodes now!
TheGrio is now on Apple TV, Amazon Fire, and Roku. Download theGrio today!
The post Man who drove semi-truck into BLM protesters charged appeared first on TheGrio.