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Seattle protester dies after driver plows car through crowd

Graffiti from prior protests on Interstate 5 covers the walls on the shoulder of the freeway. Two people were struck and seriously injured when a car sped through their small protest gathered on a closed Interstate 5 near the Yale Avenue on-ramp in Seattle in the early morning hours of Saturday, July 4, 2020. (Bettina Hansen/Seattle Times/TNS)

A 24-year-old person who had been marching in a Black Lives Matter protest died Saturday night, less than a day after they were hit by a car that drove the wrong direction into the Seattle crowd.

Summer Taylor was protesting along the freeway near the Olive Way overpass with a group when a driver rammed into them around 1:40 a.m. Sunday, according to KIRO.

Taylor and 32-year-old Diaz Love were both hit and hospitalized. Love remains in serious condition in the ICU at Harborview Medical Center.

Two people were struck and seriously injured when a car sped through their small protest gathered on a closed Interstate 5 near the Yale Avenue on-ramp in Seattle in the early morning hours of Saturday, July 4, 2020. Orange evidence markers on the freeway can still be seen from the Olive Way overpass in the Capitol Hill neighborhood of Seattle. (Bettina Hansen/Seattle Times/TNS)

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The anti-police brutality, anti-racism marches have been crossing the freeway for several weeks and local police had erected barriers to protect the protesters from traffic.

“He went around a series of vehicles that were blocking I-5 and went around on the shoulder where a group of pedestrians were standing,” Washington State Patrol Capt. Ron Mead told KIRO.

“We’ve worked tirelessly to separate motorists from pedestrians fearing a tragedy like this could very well happen.”

A GoFundMe set up for Taylor before she died describes her as “an incredibly strong and independent spirit.”

Two people were struck and seriously injured when a car sped through their small protest gathered on a closed Interstate 5 near the Yale Avenue on-ramp in Seattle in the early morning hours of Saturday, July 4, 2020. Orange evidence markers on the freeway can still be seen from the Olive Way overpass in the Capitol Hill neighborhood of Seattle. (Bettina Hansen/Seattle Times/TNS)

“They are a bright and caring person who’s presence elicits joy and laughter in others,” the description reads. “Summer works at a veterinary clinic and takes pride in their community & supporting others.”

The suspected driver, 27-year-old Dawit Kelete, fled the scene but was caught and arrested Saturday morning. He has been charged with two counts of vehicular assault.

It’s unclear whether he intentionally rammed into the protesters, but police said there were no drugs or alcohol in his system at the time.

Mead told KIRO that charges against Kelete could be upgraded depending on the investigation.

Officials said they now plan to block protesters from walking along the freeway and will arrest any who do.

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© 2020 New York Daily News

Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.