Man Who Killed Woman Driving Through Black Lives Matter Protest Accepts Plea Deal

Dawit Kelete, 30, in a court appearance facing charges of vehicular homicide and reckless driving after reportedly driving through a crowd of Black Lives Matter protesters in July 2020, killing one and severely injuring another. [Screenshot/KOMO News]

John Oyewale Contributor
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A man charged with killing a Black Lives Matter protester and severely injuring another by driving through demonstrators in July 2020 accepted a plea deal on Thursday, CNN reported.

Dawit Kelete, 30, pleaded guilty to vehicular homicide and reckless vehicular assault as well as reckless driving during the protest in the early hours of July 4, 2020, in the plea deal, per the CNN report.

Kelete faces six and a half years in prison followed by 18 months of community custody or parole, and is due to be sentenced September 8, CNN noted.

Kelete drove his car, “that appears to have entered I-5 from an exit ramp,…through the group striking two protestors at a high rate of speed,” in the small hours of July 4, 2020, according to a statement by the Washington State Patrol. “[A] 32 year old from Bellingham who suffered serious injuries and is currently in serious condition [and] a 24 year old Seattle resident who suffered life threatening injuries and is listed in critical condition” were taken to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle following the collision, per the statement. Kelete was not impaired by substance use at the time of the collision, the troopers noted. However, he allegedly suffered from opioid addiction.  (RELATED: Army Sergeant Found Guilty Of Murdering BLM Protester After Being Swarmed By Group During 2020 Riots)

Summer Taylor, the younger victim, died from her injuries. Diaz Love, the older victim, suffered a traumatic brain injury, multiple fractures, lacerations and other wounds, and sued the city of Seattle and Washington State for allegedly failing to protect the protesters.

Kelete’s attorney, Francisco A. Duarte, echoed the allegation, reportedly stating, “Dawit plead guilty in recognition that his choice to enter the highway using an exit ramp led to this awful tragedy. But no one should lose sight of the fact that our local and state authorities failed to protect and serve the greater Seattle community and BLM protesters,” per CNN.

Washington State troopers, however, said that “the freeways are an inherently dangerous place for any pedestrian” and that despite their continued “support [of] the rights of peaceful protestors,…the interstate is not a safe place to do that.”