A northern Indiana physician won’t serve any jail time after being convicted of criminal recklessness for driving through a crowd of people in 2020 as they were protesting racial injustice.
St. Joseph County Superior Court Judge John Marnocha sentenced Glenn Wheet on Wednesday to one year of probation and fined him $1,000, the South Bend Tribune reported.
Marnocha chose to treat Wheet’s February conviction as a misdemeanor, which is allowed under Indiana law in certain cases. He said Wheet’s actions were “stupid” and “impatient,” but were not politically charged, and noted his lack of criminal history.
Wheet apologized for the incident, telling the court, ““I deeply regret the actions I took on that day that led us here.”
Prosecutors said Wheet caused a substantial risk of injury by knowingly driving at slow speed over traffic cones set up by police and into a crowd on a bridge on July 4, 2020, in Mishawaka during a protest that followed George Floyd’s killing by a Minneapolis police officer.
Prosecutors said Wheet initially drove his SUV away from the bridge, but then returned. Multiple videos showed protesters shouting and rushing toward Wheet’s SUV as he drives over a traffic cone and into the crowd. Some protesters hit the SUV while others stood in front of it or pushed against it. As the SUV clears through the crowd, it accelerated, dragging a man who testified he was hanging onto its side mirror.