CCJ Daily Dispatch, June 3: Kenan truck driver who drove toward protests released without charges

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Updated Jul 29, 2020

Trucking news and briefs for Wednesday, June 3, 2020:

Tanker driver’s move towards protestors deemed accidental, driver released without charges
The Minnesota Department of Public Safety reported this week that it does not appear that a tanker truck driver intentionally drove his rig toward thousands of protestors that had unexpectedly gathered on Interstate 35 in Minneapolis on Sunday to protest the police-related death of Minneapolis resident George Floyd.

Minneapolis police arrested the driver, 35-year-old Bogdan Vechirko, an independent contractor with Kenan Advantage Group (No. 17 in CCJ Top 250), after he drove his tractor-trailer toward hundreds of protestors who scrambled to get out of his path. No one was hit and after stopping his truck, Vechirko was pulled from his cab and roughed up by angry protestors before being shielded by others in the crowd. Vechirko, who was never formally charged and was being held without bail, was released Tuesday.

U.S. Xpress to honor 10 drivers
U.S. Xpress (No. 15 on the CCJ Top 250) will recognize 10 of its drivers for above and beyond achievement at a virtual ceremony on Thursday, June 4.

Each year, the company hosts a two-day awards event for drivers and their families. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the event is being held online this year. Company executives and guests will remotely extend their congratulations to each honoree.

The 10 drivers to be recognized are:

  • Steve Allen – Riverdale, Georgia
  • Willis Carswell – Reidsville, Georgia
  • Jimmy Lewis – Waxahachie, Texas
  • Karen and Richard Black – Orange Park, Florida
  • Scott Hatchett – Hampton, Virginia
  • Richard McFarland Jr. – Huber Heights, Ohio
  • Paul Baskin – LaPlace, Louisiana
  • Larry Wright – Hinesville, Georgia
  • Larry Ransom – Hinesville, Georgia

ATA opens registration for Management Conference & Exhibition
The American Trucking Associations plans for its annual Management Conference and Exhibition to be one of the first in-person events for the trucking industry in 2020 following the COVID-19 pandemic. Registration is now open for the event, which will be held Oct. 24-27 at the Gaylord Rockies Resort and Convention Center in Denver.

“Each year, MCE is a touchstone event for trucking and never has that been truer than this year,” said ATA President and CEO Chris Spear. “We anticipate MCE will be one of the first opportunities for our industry to come together and meet face-to-face and begin mapping our road to recovery from this pandemic and its economic impact.”

With a theme of “Moving Forward from Crisis to Recovery,” the 2020 MCE will focus on what fleets and others in trucking need to do to continue delivering for the nation.

ATA also announced that former Transportation Secretary Norman Mineta, former Senator Alan Simpson (R-Wyoming) and nationally renowned pollster Neil Newhouse will be among the guest speakers at the event.

Wisconsin Motor Carriers Association donating $9,000 in gift cards to truckers
The WMCA has delivered appreciation for the work of professional truck drivers during the COVID-19 pandemic in the form of 900 $10 Kwik Trip gift cards, which have been in distribution around the state at Kwik Trip locations.

The association’s ThankATrucker fundraiser’s proceeds are being used to purchase the gift cards, which drivers can use for breakfast, lunch or dinner meals. Through the donations of WMCA member companies and individuals, nearly $9,000 was raised within one month.

They have so far successfully reached more than 300 drivers, with events ongoing. The next event is Thursday, June 4 at the Kwik Trip in Mt. Pleasant, Wisconsin.

COVID-19 testing available for Arkansas-based truckers
The Arkansas Trucking Association has worked with the state’s health department to find 30 health clinics in the state where truck drivers can receive a COVID-19 test.

The clinic locations are open Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 4:30 pm. It is recommended that drivers call ahead and make an appointment, but it is not required. Some locations have extended hours on certain days. A full list of clinic locations can be found here.

Drivers should bring their CDL and insurance card and expect to wear a mask while visiting the clinic.  There is no out-of-pocket expense for the test.  Result times vary but average two-to-three business days.

Arizona adds truck parking info to 511 site
The Arizona Department of Transportation has added the total number of truck parking spaces at any of the state’s rest areas on the department’s 511 website.

Drivers can click on the ‘Map Legend’ box on the right-hand side of the screen and check the box next to ‘Rest Areas’ to bring up the rest areas on the map. Clicking on a rest area location will show details including the total number of truck spaces.

There currently are 430 total truck parking spaces at the state’s 27 rest area facilities.