Charges Pending For Driver Who Hit Seattle Protestors

On July 4, two Seattle protestors who were marching for the Black Lives Matter movement were struck by a vehicle that drove onto a closed portion of I-5. One of the two young women who were struck on the highway died Saturday evening, while the second woman remains in serious condition.

Summer Taylor, 24, of Seattle, was a veterinary clinic worker and a passionate supporter of the Black Lives Matter movement. Taylor succumbed to her injuries at Harborview Medical Center on Saturday evening, according to hospital spokesperson Susan Gregg. She arrived at the hospital in critical condition early that morning.

seattle protestorsDiaz Love, 32, of Portland, is still in serious condition in the intensive care unit at Harborview Medical Center. Her recovery progress is still unknown.

Both Seattle protestors were struck by a white 2013 Jaguar XJL around 1:40 a.m. early Saturday morning while protesting against police brutality, according to a report released by the Washington State Patrol.

The protestors immediately scattered for safety when the vehicle approached. A graphic video was later released and shows the car swerving sideways into the two protestors, then he turned on his flashers and quickly drove away.

The driver of the white Jaguar, Dawit Kelete, 27, of Seattle, was alone when he hit the protestors and fled the scene of the crash. However, Kelete was booked into King County Correctional Facility after other Seattle protestors stopped the driver from fleeing the scene about a mile away.

Captain Ron Mead, of WSP, said to reporters, “My hope is, as a result of this tragedy, protestors will reconsider their desire to be on the interstate because I cannot guarantee their safety, plain and simple.”

Charges Expected To Be Announced by Wednesday Afternoon

Kelete was originally booked Saturday morning on two counts of vehicular assault, but could now face upgraded charges following the death of Summer Taylor.

The driver does not have a prior criminal record in the state of Washington and is expected to return to court on Wednesday, July 8. The King County prosecutor’s office said they are still reviewing the investigation documents and will decide on charges by Wednesday afternoon.

Kelete’s bail was set Monday for $1.2 million dollars.

The driver’s lawyer, John Henry Browne, said it was a “horrible, horrible accident” and claims his client is remorseful and feels “tremendous guilt.”

According to local officials, neither drugs nor alcohol were found in Kelete’s system at the time of the arrest.

The state patrol had the same section of I-5 closed for 19 days in a row for protestors. When the two women were hit by Kelete, the highway had been closed for more than an hour before the crash.

After Saturday’s incident, protestors are no longer allowed to talk along the highway and will be arrested by authorities if they do.

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