2 women injured when car drives through Seattle protest area

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This early Saturday, July 4, 2020 photo provided by the Washington State Patrol shows the vehicle of Dawit Kelete who is suspected of driving into a protest on Interstate 5 in Seattle. Seattle has been the site of prolonged unrest following the May 25 police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis. (Washington State Patrol via AP)

Two women were hospitalized early Saturday after a car drove through a protest-related closure on an interstate in Seattle, authorities said. One of the women is in critical condition while the other is in stable condition, the Seattle Fire Department said.

CBS Seattle affiliate KIRO-TV reported that Dawit Kelete is in custody after he fled the scene. The motive was unclear as of Saturday morning, but officials said impairment was not a factor. Kelete, 27, was charged with two counts of vehicular assault, according to KIRO-TV. Bail has been denied. 

Video posted on social media showed a white car that appeared to be driving at a high speed navigate through police barriers toward a small crowd. As people can be heard shouting “car,” the video showed the car striking two people who flew into the air as the car continued driving.

The highway had been closed for over an hour when the car drove though the crowd. Washington State Patrol tweeted out images of the car involved, a white Jaguar that had damage to the bumper and windshield.   

Washington State Patrol Captain Ron Mead said at an early-morning press conference that the interstate had been closed for protests 19 days in a row, the Seattle Times reported. Mead said Saturday that the interstate is “simply not a safe place” for protests. 

Protests have been taking place in Seattle since George Floyd’s death in Minneapolis on May 25. Police earlier this week broke up the city’s “occupied” protest zone, known as “Capitol Hill Occupied Protest,” or CHOP, after two fatal shootings in the area. 

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