Car crashes into two protesters on the closed Seattle highway | News

Two women were hit by a fast-moving car with a serious injury after a driver accelerated through a crash-related shutdown on a highway in Seattle.

Summer Taylor, 24, of Seattle, suffered critical and life-threatening injuries, while Diaz Love, 32, of Portland, Oregon, was seriously injured early Saturday morning, said the captain of the Washington State Patrol. Ron Mead.

The driver, Dawit Kelete, 27. from Seattle, he was arrested and charged with two counts of vehicular assault, authorities said. Kelete’s reason was not immediately clear, although deterioration was not considered a factor.

It was also unclear where the driver entered the highway, which had been closed amid continued protests in the city calling for racial justice. Such protests have been common across the United States since the May 25 murder of George Floyd after a police officer knelt on his neck for nearly nine minutes.

Captured on video

Police said protesters had been on the highway for more than an hour before the car drove around the blockade around 1:36 a.m.

The video posted on social media, taken from a nearby flyover, showed a white car traveling at high speed and navigating around two vehicles placed in the lanes of the highway as a barrier. The vehicle collided with a small crowd of protesters, hitting the two people who flew into the air.

The couple landed on the ground several meters away.

Twitter user Larry Subramanian, who captured video of the incident, wrote in a post: “Pray for the victims of this cowardly and senseless attack. They were peaceful protesters. This is terrible.”

Protesters closed the interstate highway for 19 days straight, Mead said at a news conference on Saturday, adding that the highway “is simply not a safe place” for pedestrians. He said he expected protesters to stop what he called “illegal behavior.”

“My hope is that as a result of this tragedy, protesters will reconsider their desire to be on the interstate because I cannot guarantee their safety, it’s that simple,” Mead said.

Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan said the city is alongside friends and family of the victims.

“No one should risk their lives to better demand of our city, state and country,” Durkan said on Twitter.

Al Jazeera and news agencies