SEATTLE (AP) - Two women were struck by a car whose driver sped through a protest-related closure on a freeway, authorities said early Saturday.
One suffered life-threatening injuries and the other had serious injuries, a Washington State Patrol spokesperson tweeted. The Seattle Fire Department tweeted that the injured women appeared to be in their 20s.
"A vehicle drove through the closure and struck multiple pedestrians on the freeway," the State Patrol's District 2 public information account for King County tweeted shortly after 2 a.m. Just before midnight, he had tweeted that portions of Interstate 5 were closed because of protests.
The vehicle was stopped and the driver was in custody, the State Patrol account tweeted. Charges remain under investigation, as does the motive and point of entry onto the interstate.
Video on social media showed a white car traveling at a high rate of speed navigate around two vehicles positioned across the lanes as a barrier. The car careened toward a small crowd of protesters on the freeway, striking two people who flew into the air before landing on the ground.
A nearly two-hour-long Facebook livestream captioned "Black Femme March takes I-5" from Diaz Love ended abruptly; with about 15 seconds left, shouts of "Car!" can be heard as the camera starts to shake before screeching tires and the sound of impact are heard. The Associated Press could not immediately reach her.
Seattle has been the site of prolonged unrest following the May 25 police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis, which sparked nationwide protests. Dozens of people were arrested this past week in connection with protests as demonstrations continue after authorities cleared the "Capitol Hill Occupied Protest" zone Wednesday morning.
Washington State Patrol Capt. Ron Mead said at the press conference that protesters had shut down the interstate for 19 days in a row. He emphasized that the freeway is "simply not a safe place for pedestrians," and said he hoped protesters would reconsider what he termed illegal activity "as a result of this tragedy."
The state patrol tweeted out two pictures of the driver's car, a white Jaguar with significant damage to its bumper and windshield.
Seattle police tweeted that they were assisting the State Patrol with the scene, as southbound lanes of the freeway remained closed for investigation.