The truck driver was charged after the vehicle was hijacked to a residential school memorial march

A man has been criminally charged after the vehicle he was driving plowed into several people during a memorial march for survivors of a residential school in Mission, B.C., earlier this year.

Richard Albert Manuel, 77, was charged with dangerous operation of a motor vehicle on Tuesday.

Dozens of people lined up on the Lougheed Highway near the site of the former St. Mary on June 4 when the incident occurred.

Witnesses said the driver of a blue Chevrolet Silverado made racist comments and blatant threats before hitting at least four people. They said he then left the scene.

One victim suffered a concussion and damage to the soft tissue in his hip. Another was taken to the hospital.

In a statement days after the incident, the RCMP initially said the driver was "impatient" and had attempted to avoid the group "despite the risk to safety". The statement also said police did not believe the driver was targeting the demonstrators or their destination, despite not having spoken to him.

The characterization was widely criticized by those at the march, as well as community leaders. It was later removed from the RCMP website.

In a statement on Wednesday, the RCMP thanked "the victims and witnesses who came forward and helped the investigation get to this stage."

St. Mary's operated from two different locations in the Mission for over a century before closing in 1984.

The march was organized by the Crazy Indians Brotherhood after the discovery of a potential burial site at Kamloops Indian Residential School in May 2021 sparked a moment of national reckoning.

Participants near St. Mary's requested ground-penetrating radar to search for the site of St. Mary's. Mary for the possible burial sites of children who did not survive after being forced into institutions.

Manuel will appear in court on January 9.

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