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Police arrest Iowa man who drove his car into and struck protesters

This news story was published on August 26, 2020.
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IOWA CITY – An Iowa man has been arrested after he allegedly drove his car into a crowd of protesters in Iowa City and struck a number of them.

On Tuesday, Aug. 25. 2020, after consultatiion with the Johnson County Attorney’s Office, Iowa City Police made an arrest in the case of the vehicle that drove through a protest group on Friday night at the intersection of Burlington and Gilbert Streets. Michael Stepanek, age 45, was taken into custody without resistance. He is charged with the following crimes:

• Intimidation with a Dangerous Weapon
• Willful Injury

This arrest was made possible by a victim, who struck, coming forth and providing a statement to investigators. The investigation will continue, police say, and additional victims who were struck by this vehicle are encouraged to contact authorities.

Police say that on Friday, Aug. 21, 2020 at approximately 8:25 PM, Iowa City Police personnel in an unmarked police car observed a vehicle accelerating eastbound at a high rate of speed on Burlington Street away from protesters who were occupying the intersection of Burlington and Gilbert Streets. The officer noted the license plate, but was unaware that the vehicle had just struck several protesters and was unable to follow the vehicle due to traffic and pedestrian congestion. No reports to police were made regarding the incident by protesters, observers, or the driver of the vehicle. On Saturday, Aug. 22, 2020, the Iowa City Police Department was made aware of a video on Twitter that depicted multiple protesters who were struck by a vehicle in the intersection of Gilbert Street and Burlington Street. With the information provided by the Iowa City Police officer who initially noted the plate of the vehicle, the vehicle and driver, allegedly Stepanek, were located.

An Iowa City woman, Julia Weissenfluh of Iowa City, wrote on social media, “I saw that accident happen. The driver squealed their tires through a crowd of PEACEFUL protesters. There was a human being on the hood of the driver’s car for at least a 1/2 block. You cannot tell me that was accidental or that the driver was not at fault.”

The criminal complaint reportedly states that Stepanek told officers that the protesters needed “an attitude adjustment.”


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3 Responses to Police arrest Iowa man who drove his car into and struck protesters

  1. Avatar

    Anonymous Reply Report comment

    January 9, 2021 at 12:35 am

    He got 76 days in jail and will have his record expunged in 3 years, pending good behavior.

  2. Avatar

    Anonymous Reply Report comment

    August 30, 2020 at 9:43 am

    Good job give this man there foodstamps and there free insurance and section 8 housing for a year.. this stuff is going to start happening more and more we’re getting tired of the crap

  3. Avatar

    Anonymous Reply Report comment

    August 26, 2020 at 5:11 pm

    Simma down now, Michael. Ya gotta pick your battles.