SEATTLE — One of two protesters struck by a car on Interstate 5 early Saturday morning has died, and the other remains in serious condition at Harborview Medical Center, according to hospital spokesperson Susan Gregg.
The Washington State Patrol said it will no longer allow protesters to enter I-5 following the collision Saturday.
"For the safety of all citizens including protesters and motorists, pedestrians walking on the freeway will be arrested," tweeted Washington State Patrol Saturday evening.
Two protesters were hit by a car on I-5 in downtown Seattle around 1:30 a.m. Saturday.
Gregg said 24-year-old Summer Taylor, of Seattle, was brought to the hospital in critical condition and died Saturday evening. The second protester, 32-year-old Diaz Love, of Portland, Oregon, remains in serious condition in the intensive care unit at Harborview Medical Center.
"It happened so fast. By the time I actually jumped up out of the lane, that car had already entered the crowd where people had been protesting," said Mark Taylor-Canfield, an independent journalist at the scene.
A trooper with Washington State Patrol said a vehicle drove through a closure on I-5.
"People were screaming, they were weeping, people were trying to help the victims and them at one-point people realized that we need to get an emergency vehicle in here, so people just vacated the onramp and freeway immediately," Taylor-Canfield said.
According to their family, friends and coworkers, Taylor was an animal lover, a kind spirit and someone dedicated to fighting social injustices.
Taylor worked at Urban Animal. In a Facebook post, the organization said: “Summer is a positive force of nature at Urban Animal and brings joy and laughter everywhere they go.”
On Sunday, Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan tweeted her condolences to the victim.
"My thoughts are with Summer Taylor, and their family and loved ones. It is a life tragically lost far too soon, but their legacy will be the real change they marched for."
A 27-year-old man was taken in custody. He drove away from the scene but was arrested soon after. He is expected to have a court appearance on Monday.
Troopers said impairment isn't believed to be a factor, but the motive is still under investigation. He is in custody and could face felony charges.
The Washington State Patrol said the driver may have entered the freeway going southbound through an off-ramp to avoid barriers that were in place.
That part of the freeway had been shut down due to the protesters. The protesters had several cars parked on the freeway, blocking southbound lanes at Yale.
One witness called it a 'purposeful attack.'
Washington State Patrol Captain Ron Mead wanted to remind people that protesting on the freeway is illegal.
"What happened this morning is a tragedy. I mean it is a true tragedy, but what's occurring out here is unlawful behavior," Mead said.
Mead said he hopes protesters will reconsider their desire to be on the freeway because troopers cannot guarantee their safety.
The crash happened on the 19th day of protests on I-5. Those gathered were protesting against police brutality following the May 25 death of George Floyd in Minneapolis.
WSP detectives are seeking any information, pictures, or videos from witnesses to the collision. Contact Detective Todd Early at (253) 348-1891or by email at Todd.Early@wsp.wa.gov.