MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — A 35-year-old Otsego man who was seen driving a tanker truck through a George Floyd protest on the Interstate 35W Bridge in Minneapolis on May 31 now faces charges in the incident.
According to the Hennepin County Attorney’s Office, Bogdan Vechirko faces a felony charge of threats of violence and a gross misdemeanor charge of criminal vehicular operation.
The complaint says Vechirko’s line of sight would have given him sufficient time to stop his truck after viewing the crowd. Vechirko also allegedly admitted that he was “kind of in a hurry” and hoped the crowd would let him pass if he went slow.
“The thorough investigation showed that the defendant wanted to scare the crowd out of his path,” the complaint said.
Following the incident, DPS Commissioner John Harrington said it appears that no protesters on the southbound lanes of the interstate were seriously hurt. He estimates that 5,000 to 6,000 people were on the bridge at the time the truck sped through. Harrington says the truck was already on the interstate before the incident, even though it had closed about 40 minutes earlier at 5 p.m. and barriers were in place specifically for the marchers.
Vechirko was taken into custody shortly after the incident. If convicted, he faces up to five years in prison on the felony charge and up to one year in prison on the gross misdemeanor charge.