Truck Driver Who Sped Towards Protesters Released Without Charges

The semitrailer driver, who drove toward protesters on a closed Minneapolis freeway, was released from jail without charges.

Officials said they’re still looking into the incident and could file charges against Bogdan Vechirko, 35, at a later date.

truck driver who sped towards protesters released without charges
truck driver who sped towards protesters released without charges

Vechirko was driving an empty fuel tanker when it narrowly missed a crowd gathered on I-35W to protest George Floyd’s death.

Officers Arrested and Took Vechirko to Hennepin County Jail

However, he was later released as officials continue to investigate whether the act was deliberate.

A statement from the County Attorney’s Office read:

“Investigators are in the process of gathering additional information and answers to aid in the charging decision.”

Authorities Said They Don’t Believe Vechirko Was Trying to Intentionally Hurt Protesters

The city’s Public Safety Commissioner said that it appeared the action was unintentional.

Other reports said Verchirko ‘panicked’ and became frustrated after the highway closed amid the protest.

A relative also told The Star Tribune:

“He didn’t mean for it to happen. He didn’t have any intent to harm or do anything bad to anybody.”

Luckily, the Truck Didn’t Injure Any Protesters

Video from the incident shows the tanker speeding down the I-35W bridge as protesters quickly tried to clear its path.

truck driver who sped towards protesters released without charges
truck driver who sped towards protesters released without charges

After rolling to a stop, the angry mob dragged Verchirko from the cabin.

truck driver who sped towards protesters released without charges
truck driver who sped towards protesters released without charges

Protesters beat him up before handing him to the cops.

truck driver who sped towards protesters released without charges
truck driver who sped towards protesters released without charges

The Driver Was on the Freeway Before it Was Closed

Public Safety Commissioner John Harrington said between 5,000 and 6,000 people were on the bridge at the time.

He also said it appears from traffic cameras the semitrailer was already on the freeway before the officers set up the barricades.

truck driver who sped towards protesters released without charges
truck driver who sped towards protesters released without charges

Harrington said:

“From what we can tell in our interviews, we have not had any information that makes this seem like this was an intentional act.”

“It wasn’t that he went around barricades to get at the protest.”

He added:

“We just want to make sure, even though no one was killed … we are certainly getting to the right charge that holds him accountable for the behaviors.”

The incident came on the sixth day of nationwide protests sparked by the death of George Floyd.

Verchirko Lives in Otsego, Minnesota

He was born in Russia but moved to the US when he was four years old.

He now works as an independent contractor for Ken Advantage, a trucking company based in North Canton, Ohio.

His wife, Liudmila Vechirko, pleaded:

“He’s a nice, friendly guy… He was just going home.”