Driver charged with hitting convoy protesters named
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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 06/02/2022 (298 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
Winnipeg police have identified the driver accused of striking four men protesting against COVID-19 pandemic restrictions on Friday night.
David Alexander Zegarac, 42, of Headingley is facing four counts of assault with a weapon, four counts related to leaving the scene of a collision, two counts of dangerous driving causing bodily harm and one count of dangerous driving. The WPS released his name on Sunday.
The incident happened on westbound Broadway at Memorial Boulevard at about 9:50 p.m. on the first day of the “Standing 4 Freedom” protest, which continued through the weekend.
One man struck in the hit-and-run was taken to hospital and released. The other three suffered minor injuries, police said.
A driver was arrested in the 4800 block of Portage Avenue at about 10:30 p.m. Friday. The Winnipeg Police Service released his age and area of residence at a news conference Saturday but not his name, saying charges had not yet been formally laid in court.
Zegarac, who goes by “Dave,” was a member of Winnipeg’s punk rock music scene before moving to Newfoundland around 2007. He also lived in Ottawa before returning to Manitoba.
Brat Attack, the Winnipeg band he founded, was mentioned in the entertainment pages of the Free Press many times in the 2000s. One item referred to the band as “a local political punk group.”
“We’re not all that sophisticated,” the singer-guitarist said of the quintet in a 2005 concert preview in the Free Press. “Our purpose is to get younger kids more interested in politics and have fun doing it.”
The article described the band’s sound as “zippy, singalong punk rock with infectious enthusiasm.”
Zegarac and the band performed at a Rock Against Racism concert at the Burton Cummings Theatre in 2007.
Const. Rob Carver, a spokesman for the WPS, said Saturday that Zegarac was previously unknown to them, meaning he had not been charged with any earlier offences. Zegarac was detained in custody.
Carver said the driver “blurted out” statements about the incident after his arrest.
“Some comments he made after his arrest suggested that his motivation was not specifically about the underlying causes of the protest or the mandates,” he said.
The WPS said Sunday that officers remain at the protest site and that drivers should find different routes or expect delays.
About 20 semi-trucks, tractors and campers were parked near the legislature on Sunday. A steady convoy of passenger vehicles drove by, with people honking and waving their support.
“This isn’t going to just go away in a couple days,” Ben, a protester who declined to give his last name, said. “In my opinion, this government, basically, they’ve seized a bunch of power, and they’re not willing to give it up.”
Ben said protest organizers asked him to park his truck in the middle of Broadway to slow traffic driving through the area. They don’t want a repeat of Friday night’s incident, he said.
Nearby, someone set up a barbecue, preparing to cook lunch. Groups huddled in the cold with signs and flags. “Mandate Freedom” and “Make Canada Free Again” were among the placards people carried Sunday afternoon.
Sunday’s honking reverberated in Lansing Robertson’s apartment, a short walk away from Broadway.
Robertson was supposed to have noise-cancelling headphones delivered Wednesday. He’s still waiting for them, and he’s wishing for them now, he said.
He keeps his current headphones on and blasts music.
“Every now and then a horn cuts through, but it just sort of goes on,” Robertson said. “I’m not going to let them ruin my daily life.”
However, he finds himself getting more irritated at minor inconveniences as the noise continues, he said.
“There’s just this little level of stress that’s sort of always there,” he said.
Robertson said the honking is “obnoxious.”
“In the middle of a global pandemic, it’s up to everyone, I think, to be a good citizen, (to) try to do your part to end it,” Robertson said. “This is not helping to end it.”
He said the honking seems to decrease at about 6:30 p.m. and end shortly after.
Gabby is a big fan of people, writing and learning. She graduated from Red River College’s Creative Communications program in the spring of 2020.
Updated on Sunday, February 6, 2022 10:55 AM CST: Adds WPS statement on traffic
Updated on Sunday, February 6, 2022 5:29 PM CST: Final version
Updated on Sunday, February 6, 2022 7:17 PM CST: Adds photo of the driver, Dave Zegarac.