A trucker who drove into protesters across the I-35 West freeway bridge in Minneapolis was released without charges, according to the Hennepin County Attorney’s Office, pending a further investigation into the matter.
Bogdan Vechirko, 35, drove down the freeway during a George Floyd protest, officials said. Some 5,000 people were on the bridge when he drove down it.
Vechirko was pulled out of his truck cab and assaulted by protesters, said police. He was taken to a nearby hospital and was released into police custody.
But some protesters tried to defend the truck driver.
“We can not hurt him,” one man said. “It defeats our purpose.”
Other members of the crowd shouted “stop” while others said they should call the police, according to video footage of the incident.
Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman said in a statement that Vechirko had to be released on Tuesday because they found no charges that could be filed against him.
“Vechirko will be released from jail. Investigators are in the process of gathering additional information and answers to aid in the charging decision,” his office said.
Relatives told local news outlets that Vechirko said the incident was unintentional.
Art Loghinov said the incident was “not his fault. … He didn’t mean for it to happen. He didn’t have any intent to harm or do anything bad to anybody.”
Gov. Tim Walz and Minnesota Department of Public Safety Commissioner John Harrington said on Monday that it doesn’t appear that Vechirko intentionally tried to cause harm by driving on the highway.