U.S. News

St. Louis man charged with driving into protesters, leaving scene

(Reuters) - A St. Louis man was charged in connection with driving a car and striking three protesters during a march for a transgender woman who was shot and killed by police earlier this week, authorities said on Thursday.

Demonstrators stand next to a slow-moving car as it collides with people blocking traffic, during a protest march for a transgender woman shot and killed by police a day earlier, in St Louis, Missouri, United States August 24, 2017 in this picture obtained from social media. Heather De Mian via REUTERS

Mark Colao, 59, faces a felony charge of resisting arrest and misdemeanor charges of careless and imprudent driving as well as leaving the scene of an accident, charging documents said. Colao remained in custody on Thursday, St. Louis police spokeswoman Schron Jackson said.

A man and two women suffered minor injuries after they were hit by the car, Jackson said in a statement.

The incident comes less than two weeks after a driver in Charlottesville, Virginia, slammed into a crowd of counter-protesters who were demonstrating against a rally held by white nationalists. A 32-year-old woman was killed in the incident.

The people injured in St. Louis were taking part in a candlelight march for Kenny “Kiwi” Herring, a black transgender woman who was shot and killed by St. Louis police on Tuesday. Herring attacked officers with a knife and one officer was wounded, Jackson said.

Witnesses and police gave different accounts of the incident involving the car, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported. Witnesses told the newspaper the driver raised his middle finger before accelerating through a group of people blocking an intersection.

However, police said that as people marched in the intersection, a car approached, the driver stopped and honked his horn as he tried to drive around the protesters.

“The protesters surrounded the vehicle and began striking it with their hands and a flag pole. Several protesters also kicked and jumped on top of the vehicle,” police said.

Some hit the car in an effort to make the driver stop when they realized he was going to hurt people, a witness told the paper.

Three protesters were hit when the driver drove away, police said. They refused medical attention on the scene.

Police said officers attempted to stop the driver of vehicle, who initially refused to stop.

Reporting by Brendan O’Brien in Milwaukee and Suzannah Gonzales in Chicago; Editing by Michael Perry and Leslie Adler