The man who drove his car into a protest on a closed section of a Seattle freeway, killing protester Summer Taylor, has been charged with vehicular homicide, vehicular assault, and reckless driving.
The New York Times reports that 27-year-old Dawit Kelete, who was arrested in the early hours of Saturday (July 4) morning, is being held with bail set at $1.2 million. He is expected to remain in jail, and could face over 13 years in prison for the charges he faces. The investigation into the incident is still ongoing, and as a result Kelete could face additional charges. Authorities indicated that he drove into the protesters on Interstate 5 "at a high rate of speed," striking Taylor and another protester, 32-year-old Diaz Love.
Love, who like Taylor uses non-binary pronouns, has given an update on their condition, stating that they are "alive and stable." Commenting on Taylor's death, Love added, "I cannot believe Summer was murdered. If they this murder would make us back down. They are very wrong. Very wrong." Both Love and Taylor were participating in the protest, which was part of the Black Femme March.
Kelete is believed to have "drove at freeway speeds in lane one toward the barricade of three vehicles," before he "continued driving at freeway speeds on the shoulder," driving past a barricade of cars. "Before him were running pedestrians," authorities added, noting that Kelete "veered sharply left and directly into" Taylor and Love, "who were not able to run off the road." Kelete's lawyer, John henry Browne, has indicated that Kelete is "remorseful" for the incident, and that "there's absolutely nothing political about this case whatsoever."
In a video of the incident, Kelete could be seen speeding towards a panicked crowd, hitting both Love and Taylor. The prosecutor's office revealed that Kelete has previously been cited for a "peace and order violation" in 2015, and that he was involved in car crashes in 2013 and 2017. No injuries were reported regarding these two incidents.