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Charges to be dropped against trucker who drove into Minneapolis protest after George Floyd murder

If defendant Bogdan Vechirko says out of trouble, he'll be off the hook on charges of threats of violence and criminal vehicular operation.
Image: A tanker truck drives into thousands of protesters marching on 35W north bound highway during a protest against the death in Minneapolis police custody of George Floyd, in Minneapolis on May 31, 2020.
A tanker truck drives into thousands of protesters marching on 35W north bound highway during a protest against the death in Minneapolis police custody of George Floyd, in Minneapolis on May 31, 2020.Eric Miller / Reuters file

Charges against a trucker who drove into Minneapolis protesters in the wake of George Floyd's murder will be dropped if he stays out of trouble for a year, in an arrangement made public Friday.

During a virtual hearing before District Judge William Koch, defendant Bogdan Vechirko, 36, agreed to abide by all laws, and in one year, charges of felony threats of violence and gross misdemeanor criminal vehicular operation will be wiped from the records.

Protesters hand over to the police the driver of a tanker truck after he drove into hundreds of protesters marching on 35W north bound highway during a protest against the death in Minneapolis police custody of George Floyd, in Minneapolis on May 31, 2020.Eric Miller / Reuters file

The truck driver said he did not know there was a protest on the Interstate 35W over the Mississippi River, as thousands had gathered in the wake of Floyd's slaying six days earlier by then-Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin, who was later convicted of murdering Floyd.

Nobody was seriously hurt, though a criminal complaint said at least one protester suffered abrasions after jumping out of the truck's way.

Vechirko said the on-ramp he entered was not blocked off.

Defense attorney Kevin DeVore said the arrangement is "what's right" for his client and the community.

"We were prepared to to dig in and fight it," DeVore told NBC News on Friday. "They had to prove my guy had the right sight lines to see the crowd in time and it would come down to testimony and a trial about reaction times. So I think it was a combination of looking at the evidence and also what's right for him and what's right for the community."

A spokeswoman for the Hennepin County Attorney called the arrangement an example of restorative justice, allowing "all the parties involved to sit down and talk."

"Hopefully the parties can help understand the other sides perspective and both parties can be satisfied with the outcome," the prosecution representative said.