Marshall R. Blanchard of Bloomington was charged with committing a hate crime and aggravated assault Tuesday after he allegedly drove his motorcycle through a crowd of post-rally demonstrators on Sunday. 

Blanchard, 21, faces 17 felony counts related to the hit-and-run incident in which he injured two people. The felony counts include hate crimes, aggravated assault and aggravated battery.

The hate crime charges claim Blanchard acted “by reason of the actual or perceived race of a group of individuals.”

These charges come as Blanchard originally faced preliminary charges of reckless conduct, failure to obey a police officer and leaving the scene of an accident with injuries after his arrest. 

Authorities state that Blanchard intentionally drove his motorcycle through the crowd following the end of a well-attended NAACP rally against racism and brutality. 

The crowd was marching south on Madison Street at approximately 7 p.m. Sunday when Blanchard allegedly went around a police barrier and drove through the group. 

He was then arrested a couple hours later by Bloomington Police after photos of him and his license plate quickly circulated on social media. 

On Monday, State’s Attorney Don Knapp said the charges could be modified based on all information available to prosecutors. Those changes have now happened. 

Blanchard is being held at the McLean County jail on a $400,000 bond. 

KELLIE FOY is News Editor for The Vidette. She can be contacted at  Follow her on Twitter at @kellie_foy 

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