Driver in Summer Taylor vehicular homicide case ordered released from jail as case moves slowly toward trial

The man charged with vehicular homicide after he hit and killed activist Summer Taylor on I-5 has been ordered released from jail and placed on home detention despite being held on bail of $1.2 million.

According to court records, Dawit Kelete was ordered released after a bid from his lawyers to allow the defendant to go under house arrest and electronic monitoring as he awaits trial.

Kelete pleaded not guilty to charges of vehicular homicide, vehicular assault, and reckless driving after he crashed into a Black Lives Matter protest on I-5 on July 4th, killing one demonstrator, and badly injuring another. Continue reading

‘4/5ths’ — County proposal would make big loan to help patch part of $300M financing hole in Seattle’s massive, nearly complete convention center expansion

Crews pouring the roof deck at the Summit Addition last week at the Washington State Convention Center (Image: Lease Crutcher Lewis)

The developer of the massive convention center expansion under construction downtown says the project is seeking help from the the city, the state, and the county in patching a $300 million hole in its finances from the COVID-19 crisis. Thursday, King County Executive Dow Constantine announced he will step forward first with a proposed $100 million loan for the project from cash part of the county’s $3.4 billion investment pool.

But the city, and the state will have to follow suit, apparently.

“No, this is not enough,” Matt Griffin of developer Pine Street Group said in a press conference Thursday to discuss the proposed $100 million loan.

Constantine called the loan proposal on the “4/5ths” completed Washington State Convention Center expansion project “a safe investment.” Continue reading

Driver who sped through I-5 protest killing one charged with vehicular homicide

The driver who sped onto a closed I-5 during a Seattle Black Lives Matter protest, killing one and badly injuring another when he raced through the crowd of demonstrators, will be charged with vehicular homicide, vehicular assault, and reckless driving, the King County Prosecutor announced Wednesday.

Prosecutors say 27-year-old Dawit Kelete tested sober after he crashed into and killed 24-year-old Summer Taylor and sent 32-year-old Diaz Love to the hospital with serious injuries. The Seattle man remains jailed on $1.2 million bail. He is scheduled to enter a plea on the charges in two weeks.

The charges indicate prosecutors and detectives do not have evidence that Kelete targeted the protest. “Additional charges may be added or amended based on the information that may be sent to our office from the ongoing investigation,” a statement from the prosecutor’s office reads.

Prosecutors say the investigation,is being handled by the Washington State Patrol and the FBI.

CHS reported on the July 4th, 1:30 AM collision after Kelete drove onto the closed freeway in a white Jaguar and sped toward the crowd, careening into Taylor and Love, and trying to race away before being arrested after he was stopped by a car in place to protect the protestors. Continue reading

Summer Taylor remembered

Summer Taylor, right, dancing early Saturday morning on I-5 (Images: @nowah_j)

They died after dancing the Cupid Shuffle on I-5 in the middle of Seattle on a night of protest and energy with friends and loved ones.

Summer Taylor was 24.

The activist and Capitol Hill resident died Saturday as they marched and danced with the nightly Black Femme March for Black Lives Matter. As it had for weeks, the group entered the freeway and brought traffic to a stop to get their message out and make a stand. Continue reading

Driver smashes into Seattle Black Lives Matter crowd during I-5 protest — UPDATE: One dead

The moments before Saturday’s terrible collision (Image: @nowah_j)

(Image: @nocopcoop)

Two people were sent to the hospital, one with life threatening injuries, after a driver sped through a crowd of dozens of Black Lives Matter protesters blocking southbound I-5 early Saturday morning.

The driver has been taken into custody, according to the Washington State Patrol.

Just after 1:30 AM, a white sedan sped into the crowd assembled on the freeway near Yale just north of the Olive Way overpass, careening into at least two protesters in a scene captured by journalists livestreaming the demonstration. Seattle Fire reports the two victims are women in their 20s. One suffered life threatening injuries while the second suffered serious injuries but is reported in stable condition. UPDATE x2: WSP says the victims are a 24-year-old from Seattle and a 32-year-old from Bellingham. UPDATE x3: They have been identified as Summer Taylor, 24, and Diaz Love, 32. Information on how to help is below.

UPDATE 10:00 PM: According to Harborview, Taylor passed away earlier Saturday.

Continue reading

Reported jumper dies after I-5 fall from Pike overpass

(Image: WSDOT)

Washington State Patrol says a person died after reportedly leaping from the Pike overpass onto I-5 in front of the Convention Center early Tuesday morning.

Seattle Police and Seattle Fire were called to the scene near Pike and Hubbell Place just after 6 AM. A WSP spokesperson said the person fell and was struck by vehicles in the northbound lanes of I-5 and died at the scene.

WSP is still working to contact the drivers involved in the incident.

All northbound lanes but one were closed during the response. Despite lower than typical volumes due to the COVID-19 restrictions, traffic was reported backed up for about four miles during the three-hour closure.

Resources to help those in need: National suicide-prevention hotline: 800-273-8255. Local Crisis Clinic: (206) 461-3222. If you need immediate assistance, call 911.

Smokey fire near I-5 encampment scorches Boren overpass

A fire near a popular encampment area below Pike and Boren sent black smoke billowing across the neighborhood and left the I-5 overpass closed pending inspection Sunday night.

Seattle Fire units rushed to the area just before 7 PM to a report of the fire in the I-5 greenbelt area below Plymouth Pillars Park. Smoke rose from all sides of the raised streets as flames could be seen shooting from beneath the area of the overpass. Continue reading

Person dies in I-5 fall

A person died after falling along the I-5 exit to Union in downtown Seattle Thursday morning.

According to emergency radio updates, the person was found face down along the freeway exit just before 6:30 AM. Seattle Fire found citizens attempting to revive the victim who was declared dead at the scene.

Though the person was found in an area that has seen accidental falls as people attempt to enter encampment areas along I-5 near the convention center, CHS is told that investigators determined the person intentionally jumped in a suicide attempt.

Resources to help those in need: National suicide-prevention hotline: 800-273-8255. Local Crisis Clinic: (206) 461-3222. If you need immediate assistance, call 911.

50 years ago, the Seattle Freeway Revolt kept the Central District from being ripped apart

Seattle ARCH (Activists Remembered, Celebrated, and Honored) has plans for a “Ramps to Nowhere” memorial (Image: Seattle ARCH)

(Image: Seattle ARCH)

Priscilla Arsove remembers sitting in her family’s living room as her father called hundreds of volunteers and city officials throughout the evening on their house’s single landline telephone to stop freeway projects that he saw as troubling throughout Seattle. Now, she’s working to maintain that legacy as the work of her father and hundreds of others celebrates its 50th anniversary this year.

On Sunday September 23, a 50th anniversary celebration of their work will be held at the Central Area Senior Center.

Maynard Arsove was pushed to action by the construction of I-5 which effectively separated Capitol Hill and First Hill from downtown.

The “Freeway Revolt” began in 1960 when voters approved the Bay Freeway, which was set to be a link between I-5 and Seattle Center, and bonds to fund the R.H. Thomson Expressway, a 15-mile roadway that would have stretched from Duwamish to Bothell, thus setting in motion the creation of a transportation system that would have a greater freeway density than Los Angeles.

The R.H. Thomson Expressway would have destroyed up to 3,000 homes and displaced as many as 8,000 people. The Bay Freeway would have walled off South Lake Union from the rest of the city. These possibilities fostered a public outcry that resulted in a public outcry from affected residents which saw the citizens suing the city two years later. Widely-attended public hearings on the future of transportation in Seattle ensued before Citizens Against the RH Thomson (CARHT) and Citizens Against Freeways (CAF) formed in 1968.

“An arrogant disregard for the needs and the interests of the people that lived in the area,” Anna Rudd, a former anti-freeway activist, said of the city’s plan. Continue reading

Street Critic | The Audacity of Volunteers — an I-5 lid update

Riisa Conklin and Alex Zeilier of the Freeway Park Association presenting design principles (Image: Scott Bonjukian)

Tuesday, June 5th saw the second gathering of the faithful for the Central Hills Triangle Collaborative (CHTC), a partnership between PPUNC (the Pike|Pine Urban Neighborhood Council) and Lid I-5. An all-volunteer effort, the goal of the CHTC is to provide visionary urban designs to inspire Seattleites to advocate for covering Interstate 5 with parks, housing, and neighborhood centers. While no public agency has committed to our vision, Lid I-5 was recently successful in securing a $1.5M grant for the City of Seattle to begin a year-long feasibility study. In addition, Lid I-5 continues to have promising discussions with civic leaders and WSDOT and we have been invited by the DOT to a work group that is studying I-5’s future in the Puget Sound Region. With the CHTC’s results in hand we are confident we can capture the public’s imagination and convince leaders to transform Seattle by re-imagining its largest publicly-owned asset.

Spirits were high and the results of the seven teams’ efforts were remarkable. Beginning with the Connections Team (infrastructure, mobility, and branding) and progressing through the South (recreation), Central (commerce), and North (housing) Teams, it was apparent that each team was excited in presenting their work and in the work of their fellow designers. Scott B, Sony P, and I were excited too, not only by the goodwill and cheer exuded by the teams but also by our recent success in the $1.5M grant. The work of the CHTC will help the city visualize and define the scope of work for their RFQ scheduled for later this year. Continue reading