Video shows truck driver running red light, striking protester in Eureka
Editor’s note: The video footage contains language that might be considered offensive by some. Video footage captured by a nearby motorist shows the driver of blue truck revved the truck’s engine and ran a red light before striking woman at a Breonna Taylor protest last Thursday in Eureka. Arcata resident Gary Bloomfield was driving through Eureka with his wife when they were stopped on I Street when the protesters began to block the road to raise awareness about a Louisville, Kentucky, grand jury verdict that failed to indict the police officers that shot Taylor in her home.
“We actually got up to the edge of the intersection at a red light there,” Bloomfield said. ” … People were starting to go into the street. I figured ‘Oh well,’ turned the engine off and figured it might be a bit.”
Some of the motorists on Highway 101 were getting anxious, Bloomfield said. One car was let through by the protesters after the driver seemed to explain why they needed to get through, he said. Soon afterward, Bloomfield said he heard the driver of the blue truck begin revving the truck’s engine.
“They started gunning the engine while they were sitting there,” Bloomfield said. “I guess trying to intimidate people to move aside or something and, at that point, I thought I’m going to try to video (record) this just in case.” When the video starts, the truck’s driver enters the intersection while the light is green for traffic going along I Street, but not 5th Street. Protesters are mostly out of the way when the truck begins slowly pushing forward, eventually speeding past them.
As the truck begins speeding up, a woman on the driver’s side of the truck is seen falling and rolling to the ground. Eureka Police Chief Steve Watson said the investigation is still open, so he couldn’t go into too much detail, but any people with additional information should get in touch with the Eureka Police Department. “There’s a lot of video out there,” Watson said. “People can draw some of their own conclusions, but most of the video is shot from one or two angles and not both sides.”
However, one piece of footage doesn’t show the whole story, Watson said, pointing to a photo from the driver’s side of the vehicle that shows “she may have deliberately stood in front of the vehicle to block it as it was leaving.” “But again that’s just one component,” Watson said. “We have to look at all the actions of the driver and the pedestrian and you kind of go from there.” There are still open questions they won’t know the answer to until they speak to more people and get some more statements, Watson said.
“What we’re trying to do is gather all available evidence so that we have a much more clear picture of what occurred,” Watson said. “It’s too preliminary to draw any kind of permanent conclusions about what degree of fault to put where and whether or not crimes occurred.”
Sonia Waraich can be reached at 707-441-0506.