Skip to main content

Trucker who drove toward George Floyd protesters on I-35W charged with felony

The 35-year-old from Otsego is also facing a gross misdemeanor charge.
Screen Shot 2020-05-31 at 5.48.13 PM

The semi-truck driver who caused a major scare as he drove toward George Floyd protesters on the Interstate 35W bridge in May has been charged with a felony.

Bogdan Vechirko, 35, of Otsego, is charged with felony threats of violence and a gross misdemeanor for criminal vehicular operation, which follows a months-long investigation by police and the Hennepin County Attorney's Office.

On May 31, a large crowd of protesters gathered on the I-35W bridge in Minneapolis while the interstate was shut down due to the ongoing unrest. Video then showed a tanker truck driven by Vechirko – who had apparently been able to get onto the freeway as the shutdown began – hurtling toward the crowd before slowing to a stop.

Despite initially being arrested at the scene, Vechirko was released without charges, with family and friends coming to his defense, saying the incident was unintentional.

However, the Hennepin County Attorney's Office says it has reconstructed the incident and believes it's able to prove that Vechirko "wanted to scare people out of his path."

Bogdan Vechirko

The criminal complaint says the truck was "failing to stop for the crowd" and only slowed down when someone stumbled and fell while in its path.

Per the complaint: 

"In addition to traffic cameras, officers collected a number of cell phone videos that captured portions of the incident. Protestors can be seen screaming and fleeing the bridge in a panic, in order to avoid being struck by the vehicle. The videos show that the defendant did not stop his vehicle but continued into the area of the crowd at a high rate of speed.

"Various collected videos show that in addition to the large crowd, there were multiple vehicles stopped on I-35W northbound as the road approached the bridge and that a number of vehicles were driving the wrong-direction up an entrance ramp to the freeway; all indicators that something was occurring up ahead. Investigators obtained and used a similar semi-truck in order to drive the road in question.

"The reenactment was video recorded. The video shows that the defendant’s line of sight would have given him sufficient time to stop his truck after viewing the crowd."

Investigators also spoke with protesters who said they thought they were going to be struck or killed, with one sustaining minor injuries as she tried to get out of the way.

The complaint says that during the interview, Vechirko "admitted that he was kind of in a hurry," and that when he saw the crowd, "he hoped that if he went slow the crowd would let him past."

"The defendant acknowledged that he saw cars pulling off to the right of the highway as he approached," the complaint says. "The defendant acknowledged that he could have stopped the truck sooner."

The latest forecast from Sven Sundgaard

Next Up

Screen Shot 2021-11-25 at 7.53.37 AM

Another 5,000 lbs. of goldfish removed from Carver County lakes

It all likely stemmed from people dumping their pets into local waters a few years ago.

Rosaleia Shelton

Appeal to find 19-year-old missing from Bloomington

The teen left her home on Monday afternoon.

hospital, emergency room

Deaths of twin fetuses after woman was shot ruled a double homicide

The woman was shot in the abdomen in mid-September.

Payton Willis / Gopher Basketball

Gophers improve to 5-0 with win over Jacksonville

The Gophers are establishing momentum early in the season.

Anthony Edwards

Ant's massive slam leads Timberwolves to fifth straight win

The dunk didn't count, but provided the highlight of the night.

Cam Talbot / Minnesota Wild

WIld arrive late, Cam Talbot stays on point to beat Devils

Despite a 30-minute delay, the Wild picked up a 3-2 victory.

Screen Shot 2021-11-24 at 4.10.54 PM

Appeal to find 35-year-old missing from Oak Grove home

Police say he's not believed to be in danger.

vote, election

7 MN Republicans urge states to audit 2020 election results

There has been no evidence of significant fraud in any single U.S. state.

child vaccine pexels

How many MN kids age 5-11 have received a COVID vaccine dose?

The governor says the state has one of the highest child vaccination rates in the U.S.

police lights

Seven juveniles arrested in connection with stolen vehicles in Woodbury

Woodbury authorities have issued a warning following a spate of auto thefts.

police lights squad car dark - Unsplash

1 dead after driver crashes into stalled vehicle on shoulder

The vehicle stopped on the side of the road was unoccupied at the time.


Screen Shot 2020-05-31 at 5.51.01 PM

Watch: Tanker truck speeds towards protesters on I-35W bridge

The frightening scene unfolded just before 6 p.m.

Screen Shot 2020-05-31 at 5.51.01 PM

Authorities say tanker truck driver was not trying to harm protesters

Gov. Walz said the driver feels lucky that he wasn't killed.

Screen Shot 2020-05-29 at 9.32.57 PM

George Floyd: Protesters march on I-35W in Minneapolis

The protesters are blocking traffic heading south.

Body found in river under I-35W bridge ID'd as man from Albuquerque

The 38 year old's body was found last week in Minneapolis.

Screen Shot 2020-05-31 at 5.48.13 PM

Sauk Rapids releases 2 firefighters over offensive comments on protests

Both the firefighters made comments or shared posts suggesting protesters should be killed.

Bogdan Vechirko

Charges against trucker who barreled through protestors could be dropped

Bogdan Vechirko will have to avoid legal trouble for a year.