Deputies: Driver booked on suspicion of assault after truck drives through Minneapolis protest
MINNEAPOLIS (FOX 9) - UPDATE: Minnesota Public Safety Commissioner John Harrington confirmed Monday it appears Sunday's incident was not an intentional act. The driver was already on the freeway when it closed and did not go around any barricades.
The man who was behind the wheel when a truck drove through a large group of protesters on I-35W in Minneapolis on Sunday has been booked into the Hennepin County Jail, deputies report.
According to the sheriff's office, Bogdan Vechirko is being held on suspicion of assault.
Just before 6 p.m., the truck came from the south, moving at a high rate of speed while the driver honked the horn, and moved through a large crowd of protesters assembled near Washington Avenue in Minneapolis. The group had been marching for about two hours at that point, as part of a rally honoring George Floyd -- the man who died while in police custody on Monday.
At the time, the road had been closed to traffic by state authorities. The Department of Public Safety says the driver was on the road as police were working to close down I-35W.
Protesters were able to move out of the way and police say there have been no reports of injuries due to the incident. After driving through the crowd, the driver slowed down and stopped and people from the protest began climbing onto the truck.
The driver was pulled from the vehicle but a group of protesters intervened, protecting the man from a beating.
They rushed him towards police who quickly put him in a squad car.
The road was closed at the time of the incident. Investigators are still working to track the driver's movements and say it appears he was able to get around diversions set up.
In a statement, Kenan Advantage, the company that owns the truck, said Vechirko was an independent contractor.
"Our first and foremost concern is for the safety and security of the public, our employees and our customers," the company said. "We will be cooperating fully with the investigating authorities in the days ahead. It would be inappropriate to comment at this time until we have additional facts as the investigation is in its early stages. We will comment further once we have more information."