A Tallmadge man broke his wrist, suffered a concussion and is covered in bruises and road rash after being hit by a truck during Saturday’s protests in Akron.
As many as 1,000 people protested the death of George Floyd in Minnesota by marching throughout the city to make their voices heard.
Sam Borrell, 18, said the videos released of Floyd left him and his friends fed up, leading them to join the protest.
“We all felt very strongly about it,” Borrell said. “We felt like we had to be there.”
Borrell was one of many protesters marching through the streets, disrupting traffic on Akron’s major roads. The crowd was at Market and Main streets about 2:55 p.m. when Borrell was struck by a pickup.
A video of Borrell getting hit by the truck went viral on social media, and shows him being struck as a blue pickup truck makes a U-turn.
Video shared online of the incident
Protester on Main in Akron, OH pic.twitter.com/9VbhcCPcKl
— Brandon George (@TheHack3r4chan) May 30, 2020
Borrell said he was thankful no one got seriously injured as the truck drove toward the crowd, but that he is in a lot of pain.
“Every part of my body hurts,” Borrell said. “I mean, I literally got hit by a truck.”
He said he and other protesters were standing in front of a line of cars, and setting up traffic cones to block traffic. Borrell said most of the people in the cars were supporting the protesters, and some even got out to join them.
Borrell said he was in front of the truck when it started making a U-turn. He said he didn’t have time to get out of the way, and when the front of the truck hit him, he grabbed onto it to try not to go under it as it moved him across the road.
The truck continued to make a U-turn, which is when the back of the vehicle hit Borrell, sending him to the ground before it drove away.
Doctors believe he broke his left wrist when the truck hit him, and that he suffered a concussion, bruises and road rash when he hit the ground.
Borrell said a nearby driver drove him and a friend to the hospital.
Akron Police Capt. David Laughlin said an investigation into the crash is ongoing. Police have seen the video posted to Facebook, and are waiting on additional video being sent from someone in a vehicle directly behind the truck.
Laughlin said the driver of the truck told police he was trying to turn around to detour from the blocked intersection where the turn lane was closed already for construction. He said the driver drove a short distance and then called police to report the incident. He was later interviewed by officers.
The driver of the truck was in a line of cars at the intersection, which was being blocked by protesters. He also told police that items were being thrown at his truck as he turned, Laughlin said.
The driver told police he didn’t know what the protesters were going to do, so he accelerated at the end of his U-turn to get away from the scene quickly. He told police he was not intentionally trying to hit anybody.
Borrell said no one was trying to stop the driver from making a U-turn and avoiding the intersection. He said it may not have been intentional, but that the driver should not have driven into a crowd.
“Once he started trying to do the U-turn, everyone was trying to go the other way, and it went right into me,” Borrell said. “I don’t know if he had the intent, but he had to have known he was going to hurt people.”
From what he can remember, Borrell said, no one had thrown anything at the truck or done anything to threaten the driver before he turned.
“People didn’t start throwing things until after he had gone through the crowd,” Borrell said. “And I’d say that’s a pretty natural reaction.”
Borrell said he is thankful no one was seriously injured in the incident. He said he wants the driver to be held accountable for striking him and then driving from the scene.
He said he left the hospital about 9 p.m. Saturday.
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