Updated: June 02, 2020 01:27 PM
Created: June 01, 2020 09:45 PM
5 EYEWITNESS NEWS obtained security camera video showing the tanker truck driver authorities say drove into a protest on I-35W driving his rig to the BP gas station at 36th Street and Lyndale Avenue prior to the incident.
The video shows Vechirko pulling up to the gas tanks and dropping 8,500 gallons of gasoline into them. It also showed Vechirko chatting with the owner of the station.
The owner of the gas station, Lonnie McQuirter, said Vechirko was actually doing him and the neighborhood a favor by delivering the fuel to a station that desperately needed it as many gas stations are closed.
"I do not think he intentionally drove onto the freeway to injure people," McQuirter said. "I mean, he is always very safety conscious and he was trying to actually help here because there are so few gas stations.
He added, "And not many deliver trucks will come here because of the danger."
Minnesota Department of Safety Commissioner John Harrington said in a news conference that there does not appear to be any evidence to suggest Vechirko deliberately entered the freeway to do harm.
"It does not appear, from the cameras that we have seen, that he went around any barricades," Harrington said.
Gov. Tim Walz said the evidence suggests that highways had not been blocked at the time Vechirko had gotten on the interstate.
"The crowd, the vast majority, were protecting him," Walz said.
Vechirko was arrested but has not been charged with a crime. No one was seriously injured in the incident.
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