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Police investigating fatal tractor-trailer incident during downtown St. Louis protests

Police investigating fatal tractor-trailer incident during downtown St. Louis protests

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ST. LOUIS — Police were investigating a fatal tractor-trailer incident that took place early Saturday morning on North Broadway near O’Fallon Street during protests in and near downtown.

Police said the truck driver was unaware when he drove away that a person had climbed between the truck’s two trailers and was stuck on a dolly. The person was caught by a tire, pulled underneath the vehicle and eventually was run over, police said.

The individual, whose name wasn’t released, was taken to an area hospital and pronounced dead, police said.

The driver, 44, had been rerouted to North Broadway from Interstate 44, which was shut down by protests. He stopped again because of another gathering of protesters, according to police. Several people went into the first trailer of the FedEx truck and began removing items.

Two men displayed guns while standing on the passenger side footboard of the truck cab, police said. Afraid, the driver sounded the truck’s horn and drove north until he was stopped by police.

On Twitter, a man who appeared to have witnessed the death said that several protesters tried to pull the victim from the truck as it drove away.

FedEx in a statement said it was cooperating with the police investigation.

“Our hearts go out to all those who are grieving the events of this week. We are deeply saddened to learn of a tragic situation involving a demonstrator in St. Louis and one of our vehicles. We offer our sincerest condolences to the family of the individual involved,” the statement said.

“There is no higher priority for FedEx than safety, and we are cooperating fully with the investigating authorities at this time.”

Police said the fatality occurred around 2:20 a.m. near the end of several hours of protests in reaction to the death of George Floyd, an African American, in police custody in Minneapolis.

A few minutes earlier, people lining North Broadway watching protesters blocking I-44 were seen breaking into an Amazon Prime truck as it slowly moved through congested traffic on North Broadway.

Police made no arrests during the protests, which dispersed after some gunshots around 2:30. The highway was blocked for almost three hours; at one point, a small fire was started in the road.

The chain of events began about 6 p.m. Friday when a diverse, peaceful crowd of several hundred mostly young people marched down Olive Street chanting “I am George Floyd” and “black lives matter.”

As the protest crowd began to thin shortly after 10 p.m., some danced to music in front of police headquarters. A smaller group began walking east and reached I-44 near the Lumiere Place casino.

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