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caption: 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, authorities said early Saturday, July 4, 2020.
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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, authorities said early Saturday, July 4, 2020.
Credit: James Anderson via Associated Press

24-year-old protester Summer Taylor dies after being hit by speeding car on I-5

Updated at 9 a.m. Sunday, July 5

One person is dead and another remains in critical condition after a Seattle man drove his car into a "Black Femme March" on Interstate 5 on Friday night.

Summer Taylor, 24, died on Saturday evening at Harborview Medical Center in Seattle.

Diaz Love, age 32 from Portland, Oregon, remains in intensive care at Harborview.

Washington State Patrol had closed the interstate around midnight Friday to accommodate the “Black Femme March” against racism and police brutality. But just before 2 a.m. Saturday a man drove his car, a white Jaguar, around two vehicles parked as barriers and slammed into the demonstrators at a high rate of speed.

The state patrol says it was a hit-and-run collision.

One of the victims, Diaz Love, has live-streamed recent protests by the group Black Femmes. Love filmed the group on I-5 early Saturday: Young people were playing music, dancing, and starting to talk about walking back to the now-cleared Capitol Hill Organized Protest area. Suddenly there are panicked cries of “car!” and the video feed shakes wildly and stops.

Another video shows the white car speeding into protesters and slamming into them, sending two bodies flying.

The Jaguar had passed vehicles that were parked across the highway lanes to protect the demonstrators. After striking two pedestrians, it sped off.

A gray Toyota Tundra that appeared to belong to one of the demonstrators tailed the fleeing Jaguar in an attempt to block it. The Jaguar driver steered around it.

When police caught up to the Jaguar, which had stopped in the southbound lane near Edgar Martinez Way, troopers arrested the driver.

The driver was the sole occupant of the car and determined to be the registered owner. He agreed to field sobriety tests and clocked a 0.00 on the breathalyzer for alcohol.

According to the police report, “The driver was reserved and appeared sullen throughout his time in custody. At one point he asked if the injured pedestrians were okay.”

The state patrol provided photos of his vehicle, showing significant damage to the windshield and bumper.

The state patrol said in a statement that, “Impairment does not appear to be a factor and the cause remains under investigation.” They are also investigating how the driver entered the closed freeway.

The 27-year-old driver of the car was booked on two felony counts of vehicular assault.

KUOW is not naming the driver, who has been arrested and booked into jail, until he has been formally charged by prosecutors.

State patrol officials said this was the 19th consecutive night that protesters entered I-5, and that they have been struggling to keep pedestrians safe on the roadway.

Seattle has seen vigorous protests for weeks amidst calls to defund the police and redirect the funds to support communities of color.

The catalyst for these protests was the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis but Friday’s peaceful protests included a vigil for Stonechild Chiefstick, a Native American man shot by police in Poulsbo one year ago. Friday protesters also marched peacefully to Mayor Jenny Durkan’s house in Windermere.