A protester died in Seattle on Saturday after getting hit by a car while trying to block the I-5 freeway. Two female protesters were struck by a white Jaguar in the early hours of July 4th. One died in hospital and the other remains in critical condition.
Harborview Medical Center and the Washington State Patrol have confirmed the death of Summer Taylor on Saturday.
The driver of the Jaguar, 27-year-old Dawit Kelete entered the freeway on an exit ramp before turning to go down the highway in the correct direction. He appears to have been trying to circumvent a partial police closure of the I-5, which went into effect shortly before the incident.
Rest In Peace Summer Taylor..I have no words pic.twitter.com/kiUTIRTdOi
— Harley Jarvis (@hamtarohoe) July 5, 2020
The driver passed sobriety tests
A 27-year-old man #DawitKelete drove a car onto a closed freeway in #Seattle, #Usa early Saturday and barreled through a panicked crowd of protesters, critically injuring two women, officials said.#seattleprotest #BlackLivesMattters #SummerTaylor#DiazLove pic.twitter.com/uz9HPGeZpa
— Atik Liman (@atikul_liman) July 6, 2020
Kelete drove toward a cordon of vehicles that protesters had set up to block the highway. According to police, as he came close, he suddenly “made a sharp left turn entering the right lane and struck two pedestrians.”
A horrific video recording of the incident shows the two women being flung into the air as the car hit them.
The surviving victim is Diaz Love, 32. She remains hospitalized in serious condition. Love was filming the ill-conceived protest live for Facebook. Her recording shows a few dozen people loitering on the highway. The impact of the car can be heard as her recording is cut off.
Kelete passed sobriety tests and has been taken into custody on vehicular assault charges, without bail. Reportedly, he asked if the two people that were hit were okay.
Any more protesters found on the freeway will be arrested
According to police, protesters had been blocking the I-5 for 18 consecutive days up to July 4. Washington State Patrol Captain Ron Mead has noted that blocking the highway is illegal and a criminal act.
“We’ve said since May 30th, the freeway is not a safe place for pedestrians to be. Whether they’re protesters, whether they’re homeless, whether they’re broken down motorists, the freeway is simply not a safe place for pedestrians,” he said.
After the incident, the state patrol announced that any protesters who tried to enter I-5 would be arrested.
Diaz Love had been an avid participant in the Black Lives Matter protests. She had joined the protesters blocking the highway for a few days before the incident. She was also involved in the CHOP zone in Seattle.
On social media, Love noted that protesters like her had received death threats. She added: “I’ll be shocked if some major tragedy doesn’t take place in one of our protests in the States this weekend.”