A man accused of hitting two people with a car, killing one, who were marching on part of an interstate that was shutdown, has been charged with three felonies, including vehicular homicide.
The driver, Dawit Kelete, 27, fled the scene but was chased down by another car that was able to pull in front of Kelete’s path and get him to stop, according to a State Trooper who spoke with the NY Post.
Eye witness videos show a car entering the highway the wrong way through an off-ramp after 1 a.m., driving at a high rate of speed and eventually striking two victims, sending them flying through the air, according to the Seattle Times. (RELATED: Iowa Governor’s Car Allegedly Hits Black Lives Matter Protester)
Summer Taylor, a 24-year-old Seattle resident, died at the hospital Saturday night while the second victim, Diaz Love, 32, of Portland, Oregon, was placed in the intensive care unit and is recovering from serious injuries as of Sunday morning, according to the Seattle Times.
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
Kelete is a U.S. citizen originally from Eritrea, in Africa, whose lawyer said he did not intentionally hit the protesters, reported the NY Post. “There’s absolutely nothing political about this case whatsoever,” his lawyer added.
“At one point he asked if the injured pedestrians were okay,” said a probable-cause statement, obtained by the Seattle Times. The statement did not contain a motive and authorities do not suspect Kelete was impaired they reported.
State Patrol announced Saturday that it would no longer allow protesters on the interstate. “Blocking a freeway is a crime and no longer are we going to enable that criminal conduct to continue,” said State Patrol Capt. Ron Mead who made the decision, according to the Seattle Times.
A judge set Kelete’s bail at $1.2 million on Monday, according to the Washington Post, and he remains in custody scheduled for arraignment on July 22.