UPDATED 10:50 a.m. | Bloomington Police have arrested a 21-year-old man who allegedly drove his motorcycle into a crowd of demonstrators Sunday night in downtown Bloomington, injuring two people.
Marshall R. Blanchard of Bloomington was arrested about three hours after the hit-and-run, which happened about 7 p.m. as demonstrators marched south down Madison Street, between the McLean County Law and Justice Center and Grossinger Motors Arena. An earlier NAACP-sponsored rally outside the Law and Justice Center wrapped up around 6:15 p.m.
Blanchard faces preliminary charges of reckless conduct, failure to obey a police officer, and leaving the scene of an accident with injuries, which is a felony, police said. He's being held at the McLean County jail.
Witnesses told WGLT that Blanchard's motorcycle made its through a Bloomington Police barrier that had stopped traffic on Madison Street, then deliberately tried to drive into people. The demonstrators chased him south until he sped out of downtown.
Photos quickly circulated on social media showing the suspect—a white man wearing a head scarf or bandana—and his license plate. The man in the photos looks like Blanchard.
he woman hit by the motorcycle was Caiti Hembree, 22, of Bloomington-Normal, said her brother Kyle Hembree and another witness, Kodi Williams. Caiti was coherent after the attack, but had a big tire mark across her abdomen and was bruised up and bleeding from the lip, Kyle and Kodi told WGLT.
Caiti was in stable condition at Advocate BroMenn Medical Center later Sunday night, said Kyle.
“What sucks is we can’t be there with her (at the hospital) because of COVID,” he said.
Kyle and his sister were among the demonstrators who have called for an end to racism and police brutality during multiple rallies this weekend in Bloomington. The motorcycle attack happened just after a large NAACP rally at the nearby Law and Justice Center front lawn, attended by hundreds of people.
“It’s bullshit how people get treated by the cops. It’s gone on for too long. And I’m sick and tired of it,” Kyle said.
A second victim, a 28-year-old man, was treated for an arm injury at OSF St. Joseph Medical Center in Bloomington, police said.
“I heard somebody scream. I turned around. I heard motorcycle revs, and then I saw a man driving a motorcycle weaving in and out of protestors,” said another witness, Tyler Hargis.
Hargis said the motorcycle sped away south over the Center Street bridge.
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