Charges against trucker Bogdan Vechirko to be dismissed

June 21, 2021

Mark Schremmer

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Bogdan Vechirko, a trucker who drove into a Minnesota protest last year, is on the road to having all charges against him dismissed, according to his attorney.

Kevin DeVore said his client entered into a continuance for dismissal agreement with Hennepin County prosecutors on Friday, June 18. Under the agreement, Vechirko’s charges of threats of violence and criminal vehicle operation will be dismissed as long as he remains a “law abiding citizen” over the next year and completes his third and final restorative justice class.

“He ended up with a fair result,” DeVore said. “There’s no conviction. It’s a joint resolution between both parties.”

On May 31, 2020, Vechirko was driving a tanker for Canton, Ohio-based Kenan Advantage when he encountered about 1,000 protesters who shut down the Interstate 35W after the death of George Floyd. No serious injuries were reported.

Video footage showed Vechirko’s tractor coming dangerously close to the protesters before stopping. He was pulled from the cab and beaten. He was briefly jailed and released pending the conclusion of the investigation. In October, Hennepin County announced it was filing charges against Vechirko. None of the protesters who attacked Vechirko have been charged.

According to the complaint at the time, investigators said Vechirko told police he “wanted to scare the crowd out of his path.”

However, DeVore said there were no barricades when Vechirko entered the road and that he had no way to know what he was about to encounter.

“Like I said at the very beginning, I was pretty surprised that they came out with charges,” DeVore said. “I think the evidence simply showed that Bogdan was just doing his job. That crowd couldn’t be seen like people think it could. He had very little reaction time. It was a very unfortunate situation. And he paid a pretty significant price for it … to get beat up and to get charged.”

Vechirko could still have to pay restitution in the case. DeVore said prosecutors have 60 days to file for restitution and he expects the amount to be “minimal.”

The Hennepin County Attorney’s Office said it decided that having Vechirko go through the restorative justice program was the correct way to resolve this case.

“After conferring with attorneys in our office, it was agreed that a restorative justice approach was appropriate for this case,” the Hennepin County Attorney’s Office said in a statement to Land Line. “Our office applies restorative justice as an alternative resolution to more than 30 cases annually. In restorative justice cases such as this … allow all parties involved to sit down and talk. Hopefully the parties can help understand the other side’s perspective and both parties can be satisfied with the outcome. In the present case, the third session has not yet occurred so comments about this particular matter would be inappropriate at this time.”

DeVore said the incident prompted Vechirko to leave the trucking industry.

“He’s no longer working as a truck driver,” DeVore said. “He’s moving on to different opportunities. This incident kind of made him look in a different direction. It kind of freaked him out.” LL

Mark Schremmer, senior editor, joined Land Line in 2015. An award-winning journalist and former assistant news editor at The Topeka Capital-Journal, he brings fresh ideas, solid reporting skills, and more than two decades of journalism experience to our staff.