Seattle protester struck by car on closed interstate dies

Summer Taylor, 24, was one of two people run over by a speeding vehicle during a demonstration on Saturday.

Authorities still do not know if the protesters had been targeted by the driver, who has been charged with two counts of vehicular assault [James Anderson/The Associated Press]
Authorities still do not know if the protesters had been targeted by the driver, who has been charged with two counts of vehicular assault [James Anderson/The Associated Press]

One of two people hit by a man who drove his car onto a blocked Seattle freeway and then into a crowd protesting police brutality has died.

Summer Taylor, 24, of Seattle died on Saturday evening at Harborview Medical Center, spokesperson Susan Gregg said. 

Diaz Love, 32, of Portland, Oregon, was also hit by the car that ploughed through a panicked crowd of protesters on Interstate 5 (I-5) early on Saturday. She remained in serious condition in the intensive care unit.

A man from Seattle drove the car around vehicles blocking the freeway and sped into the crowd at about 1:40am local time, according to a police report. 

The suspect fled the scene but one of the protesters got into a car, chased him down, and was able to stop the vehicle by pulling in front.

The man was charged with two counts of vehicular assault, although his motive remains unknown and it is not clear if he was targeting the demonstrators. 

He was described by officers as reserved and sullen when arrested and asked if the pedestrians struck were OK, court documents said. 

The highway had been closed for about an hour before the collision – part of continuing racial justice protests that have swept the US following the killing of George Floyd in Minnesota on May 25 after a police officer kneeled on his neck for nearly nine minutes. 

Deadly collision

Love was filming the protest in a nearly two-hour-long Facebook livestream captioned Black Femme March takes I-5 when the video ended abruptly. With about 15 seconds left shouts of “Car!” can be heard as the camera starts to shake before screeching tyres and the sound of the impact are heard.

A graphic video posted on social media showed the white Jaguar racing towards a group of protesters standing behind several parked cars. The vehicle swerves around the others and slams into the two women, sending them flying into the air.

Katelyn Hoberecht, who worked with Taylor at Urban Animal veterinary clinics, told the Seattle Times she was a constant presence at the protests, “staying out all day and night while still working full time taking care of animals”.

“Summer talked to me about the protests and how incredible it was to be a part of something so huge. A part of history,” she said. 

Protesters shut down the highway for 19 days in a row before the deadly incident on Saturday.

The Washington State Patrol said going forward it would not allow demonstrators to enter I-5 and would arrest pedestrians on the freeway.

Source : Al Jazeera, News Agencies

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