A 24-year-old woman has died, and another is in critical condition, after being hit by a driver while participating in a protest in Seattle, Washington, early Saturday morning.
A Seattle driver somehow made his way onto a closed section of the Interstate 5 freeway around 1:30 a.m., and drove through a crowd of protesters.
Two women were hit and immediately rushed to the hospital. Summer Taylor, 24, died on Saturday night and Diaz Love, 32, remains in critical condition at the intensive care unit, according to The Associated Press (AP).
A car drove through a crowd of protesters on Seattle’s Interstate 5 on Saturday, July 4, 2020. Protesters are seen on the freeway during another protest on June 24, 2020.
Love had been livestreaming the protest — under the title “Black Femme March takes I-5” — on Facebook at the time. Toward the end of the video, people can be heard screaming “Car!” alongside screeching tires and impact. Insider has watched and listened to the video, but chosen not to display it.
Police have identified the driver as Dawit Kelete, a 27-year-old man who lives in Seattle.
The driver was alone at the time of the attack, the AP reported. He drove off immediately after the attack, but a protester at the scene got in a car and chased him for a mile and managed to stop him, the news agency added.
State troopers arrived shortly afterward and put him into custody.
Kelete was booked into the King County Correctional Facility on Saturday morning on two counts of vehicular assault, with no bail, the AP reported.
The motive remains unclear, but authorities said the driver was not impaired. According to court documents cited by the AP, Kelete was reserved upon being arrested, and asked if the pedestrians were OK.
One witness told KING 5 on Saturday that it appeared to be a “purposeful attack.”
Washington state officials are still not sure how Kelete managed to get onto the freeway, which had been closed to vehicles for at least an hour at the time of the attack.
The Washington State Patrol has since barred all protesters onto the I-5 freeway, and said it will arrest any pedestrians found on it.
Photos of Seattle’s autonomous zone.
David Ryder/Getty Images/Business Insider
Seattle has been the scene of multiple Black Lives Matter protests in recent weeks, a part of the larger nationwide protests in response to the death of George Floyd, a Black man who died at the hands of Minneapolis police officers.
The Seattle protests linked to BLM have caught national attention.
The CHOP — which stands for “Capitol Hill Occupation Protest,” and was initially known as the CHAZ, or “Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone” — emerged several weeks ago as a part of anti-police brutality and anti-racism protests in the city.