The man who drove his vehicle through a group of Black Lives Matter protesters in Seattle over the weekend, killing one and injuring another, has been charged with three felonies.
KNBC Channel 4 in Los Angeles reports that the King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office has charged 27-year-old Dawit Kelete with vehicular homicide, vehicular assault, and reckless driving after he drove his car through a group of protestors on Interstate 5 on Saturday, July 4th.
At approximately 1:40 a.m. Kelete drove his Jaguar XJL around a group of vehicles that were parked on the Interstate to protect protestors.
According to a statement made by the Washington State Patrol, Kelete struck 24-year-old Diaz Love and veterinary clinic worker, Summer Taylor, from Portland, Oregon. Taylor was left with critical injuries. Authorities say she died as a result of her injuries on Saturday night.
Love, who was also critically injured in the incident, was hospitalized and is currently listed in stable condition.
In a Facebook post, Love said, “If they thought this murder would make us back down, they are very wrong. Very wrong.”
Kelete immigrated to the U.S. from Eritrea, located in northwestern Africa. He later became a naturalized citizen and lives with his parents in Seattle. Kelete’s attorney, John Henry Browne, made a statement to reporters claiming that his client did not intentionally try to hit the protestors and that the incident was a horrible accident.
“My client is in tears, Browne said,” He’s very remorseful. He feels tremendous guilt.”
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Investigators have obtained security camera footage from the REI building in Seattle, which shows Kelete driving the wrong way up the Stewart Street exit ramp that connects to the Interstate. Video and eyewitness accounts say that Kelete was driving at freeway speeds toward the protestors before he struck several people, including Taylor and Love.
Kelete attempted to flee the scene but was stopped by other Black Lives Matter protesters. Washington State troopers administered field sobriety tests to Kelete and determined that he was not impaired by drugs or alcohol at the time.
Kelete’s arraignment is scheduled for Wednesday, July 22nd. He is currently being held on a bond of $1.2 million.
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