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Seattle Driver Arrested After Collision With Protestors Standing On Highway; 1 Dead, 1 Injured

  • by Jenny Lobdell
  • 3 Years ago
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A car plowed into two protestors who were standing in the middle of I-5 in Seattle on Saturday.

Summer Taylor, 24, and Diaz Love, 32, both from Portland, Oregon, were with a larger crowd of protestors when they were struck by the car.

Taylor has since died as a result of the collision, while Love remains in critical condition in the hospital, although she is believed to be recovering.

It is unclear if the driver, Dawit Kelete, 27 from Seattle, intentionally drove into the protestors or not.

Before being struck, Love broadcasted a livestream of the protest titled “Black Femme March takes I-5”, which includes the moment Kelete drove into the crowd. Then the livestream abruptly ends upon the car’s impact into Love, with the final moments being random shouts from fellow protestors exclaiming “Car! Car! Car!”

She had been dancing to the ‘Cupid Shuffle’ just moments earlier.

Summer Love, 24, (left) was struck by Dawit Kelete, 27, while driving his white Jaguar which received damage to the front of the vehicle (bottom right).

The highway had been closed due to the protests; similar to other protests where protestors attacked truck drivers on the road.

According to a probable cause statement, “The driver was reserved and appeared sullen throughout his time in custody. At one point he asked if the injured pedestrians were okay.”

However, an anonymous protestor who was present during the incident said “I don’t know what happened, but it didn’t seem like an accident at all. He didn’t hit his brakes, he didn’t stop.”

Kelete has since been taken into police custody as he awaits a court hearing on Monday. State Patrol Captain Ron Mead said Kelete is suspected to have entered the highway by driving the wrong way onto an exit ramp.

The motives of driver Dawit Kelete (sometimes misspelled as Kalete), 27, are still unclear.

Following the accident, State Patrol announced protesting would no longer be permitted on the interstate.

“Blocking a freeway is a crime and no longer are we going to enable that criminal conduct to continue,” Mead said, “We are not going to be allowing protesters to access the freeway unimpeded, and there are consequences for criminal conduct.”

The move comes as a total reversal in policy from the Washington State Patrol, which had previously refused to disallow protestors from spilling onto highways. On June 27th, before the incident, State Patrol acknowledged they had received concerns from frustrated citizens about the traffic disruptions and that their response to allow protests to take place on the interstate would “not be totally satisfying to all.”

At that time, they stated there was “no effective way of stopping large crowds from entering its lengthy borders, temporarily shutting the roadway is our best measure to avoid the dangerous mixture of freeway speed, vehicles, and pedestrians and to end the disruptions as quickly as possible.”

A GoFundMe page in support of Dawit Kelete was created, but was quickly deleted.

Meanwhile, a GoFundMe for the deceased Taylor Summer has already raised over $40,000 in donations following support from U.S. Senator Kamala Harris who wrote, “Absolutely heartbreaking. Summer Taylor was only 24-years-old, peacefully protesting for Black Lives Matter when they were struck by a car. Thinking of their family during this difficult time and everyone in the movement today.”

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