Minn. governor: Semi driver was confused when he drove into crowd

MINNEAPOLIS (AP/CNN) - Minnesota’s governor says a man who drove his semitrailer into the midst of thousands of protesters on a Minneapolis freeway was confused.

Authorities say it appeared no one was hurt when the driver, identified as 35-year-old Bogdan Vechirko, rolled onto the Interstate 35W freeway near downtown Minneapolis on Sunday.

Gov. Tim Walz said Monday that the driver got ahead of officials who were closing the freeway and became confused. The governor noted the driver braked as he rolled past the crowd.

Public Safety Commissioner John Harrington said nothing indicates the driver was intentionally targeting protesters.

Verchiko was taken into custody on suspicion of assault. It is unclear if he will be released in light of officials’ statements.

Videos of the incident from onlookers and the Minnesota Department of Transportation showed people moving quickly to avoid the oncoming vehicle. Officials estimate 5,000 to 6,000 people were on the freeway.

“I think many of you, like me, have watched the video of the truck and the peaceful protesters. I am so incredibly thankful we had no fatalities or no injuries,” said Democratic Minnesota Governor Tim Walz.

Vechirko was treated for injuries before being placed in jail.

Copyright 2020 Associated Press and CNN. All rights reserved.