Seattle man sentenced to 6.5 years for vehicular homicide of non-binary BLM agitator who blocked freeway in 2020

Many activists incorrectly speculated at the time of the fatal crash that Taylor's death was caused by "white supremacists."

Ari Hoffman Seattle WA
A judge ruled on Friday that the man who drove onto a closed freeway and fatally struck a BLM protester in 2020 will spend 6 and a half years in prison.

In July, Dawit Kelete pleaded guilty to vehicular homicide and vehicular assault with aggravating substantial injuries to the victim, as well as reckless driving after driving a car onto I-5 in Seattle that was closed by the Washington State Patrol for Black Lives Matter protestors on July 4, 2020, killing one and seriously injuring another.

Kelete killed activist Summer Taylor, 24, and seriously injured Diaz Love, 32, both of whom identified as non-binary.

During sentencing, Judge Cindi Port said Kelete’s actions were "extremely reckless," adding that he “…knew that the freeway was closed and he was trying to take a shortcut home. That reckless decision resulted in the death of Summer Taylor and the very serious injuries of Diaz Love."

Many activists incorrectly speculated at the time of the fatal crash that Taylor's death was caused by "white supremacists."

The protestors were on the freeway as part of a BLM protest and had begun marching on the freeway during the deadly occupation of the city’s Capitol Hill neighborhood following the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis. Rather than preventing the protesters from entering the freeway, the Washington State Patrol was ordered to close the freeway at set times each night for the activists despite the danger and traffic delays.

Just hours after the fatal collision, WSP discontinued the practice.

The fatal crash was captured on Washington State Department of Transportation cameras and the graphic video shows people screaming before scattering, but the two victims could not get out of the way fast enough.

Though Kelete fled the scene in his Jaguar after the fatal collision, according to Trooper Chase Van Cleave one of the other protesters got in a vehicle and chased the driver for about a mile and was able to stop Kelete by cutting him off.

Taylor's family previously filed a lawsuit against the city and the State of Washington claiming police abuse during demonstrations and that state patrol failed to protect protesters on I-5, which resulted in Taylor's death. Diaz also filed suit.
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