24-year-old Summer Taylor and 32-year-old Diaz Love were hit by a car at high speed during a Black Lives Matter protest on Seattle’s Interstate 5.
The road had been closed to drivers to allow the demonstration to take place. A man has been arrested in connection with the incident.
24-year-old Summer Taylor died Saturday evening at Harborview Medical Center, according hospital spokeswoman Susan Gregg. Diaz Love, 32, remains in serious condition.
Washington State Patrol said Saturday that the driver of the white Jaguar sedan, a 27-year-old man, is in custody. At this point, officers have not offered a motive, though Capt. Ron Mead said officers believe the suspect was not impaired.
At a news conference early Saturday, Mead did not offer further details on how authorities believe the man bypassed a police closure to reach the victims. But he warned that the incident offers a stark lesson for protesters.
“My hope is, as a result of this tragedy, protesters will reconsider their desire to be on the interstate,” he said, “because I cannot guarantee their safety, plain and simple.”
Several graphic videos of the incident hit social media shortly afterward. In one, the sedan careens past a cluster of vehicles blocking its way, appearing to swerve back into the pair of victims. They’re flung skyward off the car’s hood before tumbling back down to the surface of Interstate 5.
Another video live-streamed a long, uneventful record of the protest — until, in the final 15 seconds, someone begins to scream, “Car! Car! Car!” The footage ends with the screech of brakes slicing through a swirl of screams and unfocused images.
The site was closed because it had become “lawless and brutal,” Seattle Police Chief Carmen Best explained this week, noting that shootings in the zone had resulted in two deaths. But the closure has failed to halt protesters from gathering across the city, including on the freeway.
Mead said Saturday that protesters have forced a closure on Interstate 5 every day for nearly three weeks. The freeway, however, is “simply not a safe place” for protesters to gather, he added.
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