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State officials say actions of driver who drove who through protest on I-35W do not appear to be intentional

Jessica Miles
Updated: June 01, 2020 09:32 PM
Created: June 01, 2020 04:43 PM

State leaders now say they believe the man seen driving into a crowd of protesters on the Interstate 35W bridge was not trying to hurt anyone.

The truck ended up stopping and the driver was pulled out.

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He was hurt and treated at a hospital, and then arrested on probable cause assault.

Gov. Walz says it appears Bogdan Vechirko was confused and panicked when he drove his tanker truck into the crowd.

"I was breathless when I watched it because I thought I was going to witness dozens or hundreds killed," Walz said.

State leaders say these peaceful protesters started at U.S. Bank Stadium Sunday afternoon.

Tanker truck drives through crowd of protesters on I-35W bridge, officials say doesn't appear to be intentional

By 4:30 p.m., Department of Public Safety Commissioner John Harrington said that the group started heading toward I-35W. Because of that, the Minnesota Department of Transportation was asked to close the roads an hour before they were scheduled to.

"From the traffic cameras we know that the driver of the truck was on the freeway already, he was on Interstate 94 already and turned onto Interstate 35W before we got barricades or trucks there to block off his access to 35," Harrington said.

Harrington said the driver was speeding, going about 70 mph leading up to the incident.

"We have some information that he saw the crowd and initially panicked, and he kept barreling forward but then he described what he said was a young woman on a bike fall down in front of him and he slammed on the brakes," Harrington describes.

Another driver says she was also stuck on I-35W due to the closure and protest. 

"There were no barricades, no closures, no nothing? We had no indication there was anything going on ahead of us... it is a miracle nobody was hurt," she said. 


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