Two Seattle protesters hit by auto on highway, one critically injured

Two Seattle protesters hit by auto on highway, one critically injured

A group of people protesting in support of Black Lives Matter were doing so on a closed stretch of Interstate 5 in Seattle, Washington on Saturday night when a vehicle somehow got onto the road and appeared to intentionally run down two of the activists.

Both women were struck by a white Jaguar automobile on Interstate 5 around 1:30 a.m. local time.

Footage posted on Twitter showed a white auto speeding along the highway at about 01:40 (08:40 GMT), before swerving to avoid two stationary vehicles positioned as a roadblock, then hitting the two people.

According to reports from The Associated Press, the two women were hit by Dawit Kelete, who drove his auto around vehicles blocking the closed Interstate 5. He was initially charged with two counts of vehicular assault, but now that Taylor has passed away from her injuries, it's possible those charges could be upped to homicide or something similar.

Emergency workers tend to an injured person on the ground after a driver sped through a protest-related closure on the Interstate 5 freeway in Seattle early Saturday. The second victim, 32-year-old Diaz Love of Portland, Ore., is in serious condition and is being treated in an intensive care unit, per the AP. The auto swerved around the other vehicles and slammed into the two protesters, sending them flying into the air.

Officials were trying to determine the motive as well as point of entry on to the interstate. A vehicle suddenly barreled down the road, striking 2 people.

"He was placed in custody when troopers arrived on scene", Van Cleave said by phone.

Following the episode, authorities cleared I-5 and warned protesters that anyone caught attempting to march on to the freeway will be arrested.

Seattle has been the scene of protests over police brutality and systemic racism, including in a six-block area controlled by protesters after police abandoned their precinct - the Capitol Hill Organized Protest or Capital Hill Autonomous Zone.

They say the driver did not appear to be impaired and the incident remains under investigation.

Authorities have closed I-5 several times amid the unrest, with Washington State Patrol Capt. Ron Mead telling reporters that protesters had shut down the interstate for 19 days in a row. Friday protesters also marched peacefully to Mayor Jenny Durkan's house in Windermere. The driver sped around a series of vehicles set up by the protesters to protect themselves and drove into the shoulder of the freeway where a group of protesters were standing, Mead said.

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