Dawit Kelete: Black driver who killed Summer Taylor sped wrong way into I-5 but wasn't driving under influence
SEATTLE, WASHINGTON: An African-American man, who is accused of running over two protesters on a freeway, which ended up killing 24-year-old veterinary clinic worker Summer Taylor, was identified as Dawit Kelete.
Washington state patrol Captain Ron Mead said the suspect Kelete, 27, drove the wrong way on a ramp on I-5 before the collision. He ended up going through a barrier that was apparently closing off the freeway, Trooper Rick Johnson said. He sped into the crowd at 1.40 am on Saturday, July 4. The group of protesters has been gathering on a routine basis since the death of George Floyd on May 25.
The incident was caught in a viral video but be warned that the clip can be pretty disturbing.
According to his arrest documents, Kelete asked if the protesters were okay as he was being taken into custody. “The driver was reserved and appeared sullen throughout his time in custody. At one point he asked if the injured pedestrians were okay,” according to a probable cause statement obtained by the Seattle Times. Authorities said that they “don’t believe impairment was a factor and said Kelete drove the wrong way on the Stewart Street off-ramp to enter the interstate.”
The accused driver is listed in public records to have attended Washington State University as a student between 2011 and 2017 majoring in business and commerce, ABC7 reported. It wasn’t clear whether he was still a student. On his LinkedIn page, he wrote “Activities and Societies: Pi Kappa Alpha. Campus leader,” under the entry for the university. He also worked for DoorDash for five months between 2015 and 2016.
He was also a soccer player. His Instagram photos show him hanging out with his friends and partying. People established a GoFundMe page for Kelete, but it has since been deleted. Kelete is currently in police custody awaiting a court hearing. He was booked into the King County Correctional Facility on two counts of vehicular assault, on July 4. Bail was not granted. At the time of the crash he did not have any drugs or alcohol in his system. The motive behind the crash is not determined yet.
“I am on scene of the incident on I-5 and Olive way. A vehicle drove through the closure and struck multiple pedestrians on the freeway. Two people were transported to Harborview. One with life-threatening injuries and one with serious injuries,” the public information officer for the Washington State Patrol wrote before Taylor succumbed to injuries sustained during the collision.
Diaz Love, 32, who was also hit at the time, remained in serious condition. Love posted an update on their Facebook page on July 5, saying, “I’m alive and stable. In a lot of pain. I cannot believe Summer was murdered. If they thought this murder would make us back down, they are very wrong. Very wrong. My FB is filled with death threats, that and only being able to use one hand has me going slow. I deeply appreciate and feel all the love y’all are sending me.”