Summer Taylor, 24, was killed when the driver, Dawit Kelete, drove around vehicles that were blocking I-5 and hit the crowd at around 1:40 a.m., a police report said. Video footage revealed people yelling, “Car! Car!” before the car struck Taylor and Diaz Love, 32.
Officials stated in a news conference that they are attempting to determine where Kelete got onto the interstate and are seeking a possible motive. Officials said they suspected that he happened to drive on the wrong way onto the ramp and went through a barrier to close down that section of the freeway.
The Washington State Patrol declared that after the woman’s death, police “will not be allowing protesters to enter I-5” to ensure “the safety of all citizens including protesters and motorists.” It also said that “pedestrians walking on the freeway will be arrested.”
Here are two pictures of the suspect vehicle that struck two protesters on I-5 this morning. Investigation into motive and point of entry in to I-5 are still under investigation. pic.twitter.com/gU1QH6TFTu— Trooper Rick Johnson (@wspd2pio) July 4, 2020
Trooper Chase Van Cleave informed The Associated Press that Kelete, who was alone, kept driving south after he struck the two women, adding that a protester got in a car and chased his vehicle for about a mile. Van Cleave stated the demonstrator then got him to stop by pulling his car in front of his.
Kelete was booked into the King County Jail and was held without bail. He is being probed for two counts of vehicular assault, Van Cleave stated.
“Early this morning two women were hit by a car and very seriously injured while peacefully protesting. Many others were almost hit and witnessed this horrific event. Our city stands beside their friends, families and loved ones in praying for these women and all who were there,” Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan wrote on Twitter.
State Patrol Capt. Ron Mead stated that it’s not wise for pedestrians to be on the interstate.
Riots and demonstrations have spread across the United States after a cop was caught on tape with his knee on the neck of a man later identified as George Floyd. Seattle is among one of the many regions which has experienced violence related to the issue in the recent times.