All charges against a Ukrainian who drove into a crowd of protesters in Minneapolis dropped
A truck driver who drove into a crowd of protesters in Minnesota in 2020 will be cleared of all charges unless he breaks the law within a year. The edition told in more detail Yahoo!.
Bohdan Vechirko, 36, entered into a so-called "go on without prosecution" agreement with Hennepin County prosecutors before District Judge William Koch.
Vechirko appeared in an online court hearing that lasted about 20 minutes. The deal is not a plea bargain, and he didn’t answer anything other than “yes, sir” to Koch's questions about the trial. The evening was represented by attorney Kevin Devore.
Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman did not indict Vechirko until October, several months after the incident. As a result, he was charged with a serious crime and a criminal operation with a car, as well as a serious misdemeanor. Vechirko admitted to investigators that he was "in a hurry." Freeman also said that the investigation showed that the driver was trying to get the protesters out of his way by honking them.
The incident received special publicity because it occurred during the mass protests following the assassination of George Floyd by then-Minneapolis police officer Derek Choven.
The incident was filmed by surveillance cameras.
Vechirko was seen driving his large truck across the bridge when hundreds of people protested there at the time. Vechirko said he was returning from a fuel delivery in southern Minneapolis and had no intention of participating in a protest or hurting anyone.
But the criminal complaint said investigators viewed video footage from mobile phones showing that Vechirko must have known that something was happening on the bridge, due to a large crowd and a stop of vehicles on I-35W heading north on road leading to the bridge.
The agreement requires Vechirko to remain law-abiding for a year, pay restitutions, and attend three meetings on victim assistance. He had already attended two. Hennepin County Assistant Attorney Daniel Allard said Vechirko must pay restitution, but he was unable to provide the required amount.
Although Vechirko did not address the court during the short hearing, one protester on the bridge that day was allowed to make a statement.
Bennett Hartz of Minneapolis described the ongoing trauma he endured as a result of the event, saying that he still has nightmares. Hartz called it a "miracle" that no one was killed that day.
Koch acknowledged this, saying, "I don't think anyone looking at this would bet that no one would get seriously injured."
When Vechirko was charged, lawyer Mark Solheim said the driver faced a dire situation and did his best not to injure anyone.
Solheim said Vechirko saw the crowd on the bridge and "relied on his professional instinct and training to avoid hard braking that could break the truck and seriously damage or kill thousands of people, and instead slowed down his car while maneuvering through the crowd."
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Minnesota Department of Transportation video later showed Vechirko entering Highway 94 from the Hennepin / Lindale exit, which was not barricaded.
The criminal lawsuit stated that "at least" one protester was injured while fleeing a truck.
None of the protesters who attacked and wounded Vechirko have been charged. The man received cuts on his face, and his wife reported that his mobile phone, wallet and other items in the truck were stolen.
Who is Bogdan Vechirko
In the Ukrainian community of Minnesota, Vechirko is described as "a Ukrainian, a peaceful Christian, a good family man, an honest and decent person." They also said that Bogdan Vechirko was brought up in a family of evangelical Christians.
According to sources in the Ukrainian community, the Vechirko family immigrated to the United States when Bogdan was 5 years old, in the status of religious refugees. His family is from Chervonograd, Lviv region.
According to sources, Bogdan Vechirko and his wife Lyudmila were waiting for their first child when everything happened.
Bogdan did not fight in eastern Ukraine, did not serve in the Ukrainian army, was not in Vinnitsa, and he does not have a Facebook page, as some Russian media report. According to friends, after immigration Bogdan was in Ukraine only once - he came to Odessa two years ago.
May 31 truck drove into a crowd of protesters in Minneapolis (Minnesota). At the wheel of a car was a citizen of the United States, presumably of Ukrainian origin, Bogdan Vechirko. He was arrested, but on June 2 released from custody awaiting further investigation.
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