A man accused of killing one woman and injuring another when he drove through a Seattle protest was charged with three felonies Wednesday, the New York Post reported.
Dawit Kelete was charged with felony vehicular homicide, vehicular assault and reckless driving after he struck two protesters with his Jaguar XJL and fled the scene on July 4, the Post reported. Kelete hit Summer Taylor, 24, who died Saturday night and Diaz Love, 32, who was hospitalized in serious condition.
“If they thought this murder would make us back down, they are very wrong. Very wrong,” Love posted to Facebook, the Post reported. “I cannot believe Summer was murdered.” Love added that she was “in a lot of pain,” and that she sustained internal injuries and multiple arm and leg fractures.
Aftermath of the impact at the Black Lives Matter abolish-the-police protest in Seattle on the I5. The driver got away. The protesters called 911 and nearby police to help the injured. pic.twitter.com/cFtfRcHaoG
— Ian Miles Cheong (@stillgray) July 4, 2020
Kelete’s lawyer, John Henry Browne, said the crash was a “horrible, horrible accident,” the Post reported.
“There’s absolutely nothing political about this case whatsoever,” Browne said. “My client is in tears. He’s very remorseful. He feels tremendous guilt.”
Kelete reportedly told jail officials he suffers from “untreated addiction” and was withdrawing from Percocet, the Seattle Times reported.
“Several implements commonly used to smoke illegal substances” and a substance “that appears similar to crystal methamphetamine” were found in Kelete’s car by Washington State Patrol accident investigators, the Times reported.
When Kelete saw the protesters, he was driving at highway speeds, the Post reported. Kelete swerved and slid sideways before colliding with Taylor and Love, video shows. Security camera footage shows Kelete driving the wrong way up an exit ramp on I-35.
“The defendant stopped several hundred yards from the scene,” where “he was approached by witnesses who yelled at him to exit the vehicle. After the witness began hitting and pushing his vehicle, the defendant drove away at a high speed,” prosecutors said, according to the Post.
Kelete was blocked by another protester who cut him off in another vehicle until police arrived, the Post reported. (RELATED: $1.2 Million Bail Set For Driver Who Allegedly Plowed Through Two Seattle Protesters)
Since Kelete drove the wrong way up an exit ramp, he was asked to take a field sobriety test and passed, according to police, the Post reported.
“The driver was reserved and appeared sullen throughout his time in custody,” an arrest report written by State Trooper James McGuire said. “At one point he asked if the injured pedestrians were okay.”
Kelete is held on $1.2 million bail and his arraignment is scheduled for July 22, the Post reported. He lives with his religious parents in Seattle and is a U.S. citizen from Eritrea, Africa, according to the Post.
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