Trucker Relives Dangerous Moments Before St. Louis Rioter Died Looting FedEx Big Rig
St. Louis, MO – An owner operator who came under attack moments before a St. Louis rioter died while looting a FedEx big rig last weekend is telling his story to Transportation Nation Network (TNN).
In an exclusive interview, Michael Graham of Southgate, MI, reveals what happened only moments before a deadly scene played out in the streets of downtown St. Louis early Saturday morning.
TNN was the first national media outlet to report on the gruesome and chaotic events that occurred at approximately 2:30 a.m. on Saturday near Broadway Street.
Protests over the death of George Floyd erupted in St. Louis last Friday night, as well as dozens of cities across the nation, and protesters eventually blocked all lanes of 70 West in the downtown area.
Graham, who has been a lease operator for two years, was on his way from Memphis, TN to Edwardsville, IL to drop an empty Amazon trailer and pick up the next day.
As he navigated through St. Louis, Graham tells TNN he thought there must have been some sort of accident.
“It just looked like congestion,” he said.
However, he was about to discover what was really going on.
Police diverted Graham from his route and that’s when he found himself operating along Broadway.
“As I was coming down Broadway it didn’t look like a protest. It looked like a bunch of kids just hanging out,” he recalled.
He remembers seeing multiple cars parked up ahead to block the roadway and a trash can in the middle of the road with its contents on fire.
“I was so scared,” he admitted. “It was a type of deadly situation that you couldn’t predict.”
Fearing his life was in danger, Graham said, “Reginald Denny was all I could think about.”
Many truckers vividly remember the brutal beating Denny, a truck driver, took at the hands of rioters during the L.A. Riots of 1992.
Now blocked in with vehicles in front and behind, and rioters approaching his big rig, Graham assessed the situation this way:
“If I pull off I am going to kill somebody, or they are going to kill me.”
That’s when he said people began jumping on his truck and banging on the doors.
“It went from calm to erratic in a blink of an eye.”
He heard looters opening the trailer doors, which he said are usually bolted shut, but they weren’t in this case because the trailer was empty.
Graham then says rioters were able to get his driver’s side door open as he yelled, “No! No! No!”
After the rioters took a look at Graham, he recalls one of them saying to the group, “Leave him alone! He’s one of us!” referring to the fact Graham is also an African American.
The protestor then looked at Graham and said, “Get outta here.”
Graham was able to safely exit the situation before a FedEx tractor pulling twin trailers was also diverted from the interstate and fell under siege by the same group of looters a short time later.
Videos captured by those on the scene showed a group of looters pulling packages from the front trailer and tossing them on the ground and to others standing nearby.
The incident quickly turned deadly as one looter became caught under the trailer as the stopped semi pulled away.
Witnesses to the incident could be heard screaming and yelling, “Somebody stop that [expletive]!” and “He (trucker) got somebody under that [expletive]!”
The man was dragged multiple blocks, witnesses said.
He was taken to a hospital where he was later pronounced dead.
His identity has yet to be released by authorities.
Despite the fact rioters let him go, Graham believes his truck would have “most definitely” been looted had he been loaded at the time.
“I wasn’t worth the squeeze, but FedEx must have had a full load,” Graham stated.
As he has had more time to reflect on the entire ordeal, Graham says he has difficulty reconciling what happened.
“It’s crazy how you can protest racism and then turnaround and do racism.”
The Michigan trucker has been married for 21 years and has five children ranging in ages from 3 to 21.
He says that he is urging his children to always protest safely and peacefully.
If you have been targeted during the ongoing protests, TNN would like to hear from you.
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