Slog AM: Trying to Make Sense of July 4 Killing on I-5, COVID Outbreak at UW's Greek Row



There's this story in The Seattle Times from Saturday: "Surge in state COVID-19 cases driven by Eastern Washington:"

This headline alone is misleading. If you take a look at the cases graph for King County, there's one heck of a surge going on here:

Maybe King County and WA in general aren't FL, TX, and AZ, but boy, we're a lot closer to them than we are to the EU or the UK. Those places have flattened the curve. We've gotten bored and embarked on our own second curve.

I think we can attribute this directly to the reopening of restaurants and bars for dine-in service. We can also attribute this to our slowness to adopt a masks mandate and then public officials' skittishness about enforcing the law. The Jennys and Dows and Jays in charge are afraid to offend and provoke either demagogues like Tim Eyman and Matt Shea on the one side or demagogues like Kshama Sawant and Nikkita Oliver on the other.

I've got too many deadlines today, so I'm afraid I'm going to have to let the right-wing trolls and the left-wing trolls feast on this comment.


So tragic. Whenever a protest against police brutality endangers lives by marching onto Interstate 5, our johnny-on-the-spot Washington State Patrol closes entrances to the freeway to save lives. But that couldn't stop a crazed driver from going the wrong way up an exit ramp and brutally hitting those poor women and sending them flying into the air and crashing down onto the hard cold concrete. Killing one.

The unedited video of it is on YouTube. It's important to watch.


WSP’s comments after the vehicular homicide were reprehensible. emphasizing that Blocking a freeway is illegal instead of Emphasizing that disregarding a closure and, oh i dont know, deliberately striking pedestrians are super-illegal. Why not lament the senseless damage to a beautiful white jaguar? Fuck Captain Mead.


Why don’t they call this terrorism or murder/hate crime? So sad this happened .thanks for posting the donation links


"New nationwide data on disproportionate impacts of COVID"

The Trump administration knows it's racially disproportionate - that's one of the reasons they don't give a shit about trying to control it. We're into genocide territory now.


Can we get some more victim blaming going on here? Or at least a thread about how the driver is really a good guy?


@5 - too early to say, absent a motive. Maybe he’s just an asshole.


What happened to Taylor and Love is absolutely heartbreaking, in a city that is already experiencing a lot of pain. Protesters SHOULD be able to shut down the highway in protest, but the pragmatics of it don't always work out - especially when you have bad faith actors. Also, our relationship with the police is shattered right now, so can we really count on them to add iron-clad protection when the highway gets shut down? It looks like there were some gaps in the blockoff that allowed the car to get through. I am a huge advocate of peaceful protest but in this city, I don't think I-5 is the place to do it. I don't want anyone else to get hurt.


@5 -- Because at this point, it appears to be a case of someone simply driving really poorly. There appears to be no political motive. As horrific as this was, it really is no different than the hundreds who will die from automobile collisions this holiday weekend (

@4 -- I agree. That is such a bullshit comment from a public official. This was not a case where protesters spontaneously took over the freeway (as they did previously). This was a closed off section of roadway that was barricaded by vehicles. Other than the potential for higher speeds, it is no different than any other parade or protest.


@9 FTW!


It seems like the murder might be related to this

obviously, that is wild speculation on my part. It is difficult to find any english-language coverage of politics from the African continent that goes more in depth than "something happened over there"



Show some class and dignity, asshole.


My impressions of the incident: at nearly 2am, the guy was high or on drugs or had otherwise impaired judgement. I don't think he was targeting protesters. He is a black guy. He was driving a very nice Jaguar. He initially stopped and put his hazard lights on. He drove away after a protester on the interstate was trying to open the car door. I think this was a tragic accident. The family of the young woman who died must be in a lot of pain right now. Hope the other victim makes it through with no permanent physical disability.


Pretty stupid to be protesting in the Jim Crow south and block a bridge. Nuff said.

Pretty stupid to be protesting the Klan when there are police dogs and fire hoses. Nuff said.

Pretty stupid to build your churches where the Klan will burn ‘em down. Nuff said.

Pretty stupid to kneel at a football game. Nuff said.

In David in Dumbfuckistan’s world there is no action to be taken against repression and evil. Because he’s always on the wrong side.

Christ. In 1944 he’d be all “Pretty stupid to be storming a heavily defended beach in Normandy. Nuff said.”

In 1775 he’d be “ Pretty stupid to be protesting on British ships throwing tea overboard. Nuff said.“

And FFS any adult actually using “‘nuff said” is clearly retarded.


@15 your “impression” is not based on any sort of known facts. Like most your “impressions.”

He tested negative for substances or alcohol. He deliberately went the wrong way on an off ramp, past a police blockage and accelerated and steered into human beings.

He is a murderer.


@13: he can't, he's got an early adolescent mentality.


@14 Golly. Looks like not only are American police really terrible at their job of preventing crime but guns don’t seem to make anyone safer. I think people have been talking about that for real long time.

But right now we’re talking about the tax payer funded guardians of justice abusing the law. No matter how many times you want to change the subject this is what we’re talking about right now, Feebs.


“ There are hundreds of other better venues where the protests can take place.”

Like... kneeling at a football game?


Greeks at the beach.


RIP Country music star Charlie Daniels


@9, "driving really poorly"? The guy entered the freeway going the wrong way, did a 180 to head southbound, drove at high speed along the right shoulder until he was past the marchers' support/blocking vehicles, then swerved left into the marchers. When the WSP finally caught up with him, he was evaluated for DUI/drugs and they determined he wasn't impaired.


Hey look you guys he did that thing where you copy a statement and switch out the words! GENIUS! Clearly he just won. Disband the protest.

Your deep concern for black people by consistently attempting to blame black people rather than listen to actual black people is duly noted, Feebieweebie.

We all remember your long history of racist bullshit, Feebs. Hey. At least your failure of a life will be remembered for something.


@26. Not everyone is afraid of the dark like you, Dave.

Martin Luther King had candles in the night marches down the 54 mile highway to Selma so Klansman like you wouldn’t get all scared.


Rich Caucasian in Jag needed to get back home on the East side.
Nobody else on the freeway means the city council cleared a path for him!
This is a plutocracy folks, and he was in fear for his life after all.


Hey Wynston, look up the three examples that come to mind for right now. Colorado Springs, Kansas and Oklahoma. It has nothing to do with a "democrat run city". You are sorely mistaken and that's fine to be mistaken as we all can be from time to time. Colorado Springs is particularly demonstrative of a city that goes full right, DF. I don't know where you guys get your news and information from but it sure lags in cognitive thinking.


I was at the Wing festival in Reno last year. A driver drove around the barricade and into the street vending area and was immediately gunned down by police. They didn't wait to see how it played out.


@17 Your reading comprehension skills are poor and you post way to much nonsense in these comment sections. You are correct in one thing, facts will come out that will either prove or disprove what my gut is telling me about this horrible accident. First impressions though: black guy driving expensive luxury car, nearly 2am, wrong way on freeway, initially stops and puts hazzard lights on. He may indeed be a murderer, but most likely he is guilty of vehicular homicide, not pre-meditated. How many black guys do you know of or hear about that are out to kill protesters of any kind, especially those protesting for racial equality?



Why would he start now?



Indeed. Particularly when there's an extremely loud, popular and well well publicized protest going on that has said freeway shut down to traffic in the first place.


@28 -- OK, extremely poorly (pick your adjective). The point is, he was driving really, really, really poorly (happy now).

There is still no reason to believe he was targeting anyone. Here is a true story (although I may have the details wrong). It happened in Lake City (so my apologies if anyone knows anyone involved). After a night of drinking, a guy gets into his car. He immediately bumps into a post that he didn't see. Everyone in the parking lot laughs at him. Flustered and angry, he puts into gear and guns it. Except he is the wrong gear. He put it into reverse, and runs into a woman, pinning her into the wall. She ends up getting her legs amputated.

Obviously intoxication played a part, but it wasn't the biggest issue. It was frustration and anger. It is quite possible the driver of the jaguar was extremely tired and extremely confused. After realizing he was going the wrong way, he turned around, and drove what he considered to be the right direction. He saw the cars at the last second, and swerved around them, only to run into the protesters. Darkness, fatigue, sleepiness, and frustration all likely played a part. You would not believe the number of people who drive faster and less responsibly when they are frustrated, and thus impaired. Lack of sleep is also a huge impairment. The point being, even if he didn't have any drugs in his system, it is quite possible that he was extremely impaired, which explains his poor driving. More to the point, there is no evidence at this point to suggest this was anything other than irresponsible driving -- just like the other hundreds of people who will die from similar accidents this weekend.


@14 -- Yet that isn't happening in big European cities. So what you are saying is that our current system is failing. Spending enormous sums on the police, and arming them to the teeth isn't working. We should follow the countries that are far more effective, like, say the Nordic countries. Have a smaller police force, and put the money into social services. The police can be far more effective in catching murderers (as they are there). Crime rates will go way down as a result (you can literally get away with murder in this country, in Scandinavia, the police are going to catch your ass). Oh, and as a side benefit, ordinary people, who would otherwise turn to crime out of desperation or frustration, live productive lives.

Good point. Yes, I agree. Our policing system is fucked up, and second rate. We need to change it.


It's always tough to lose progressive people, especially so young; they had the right motive, but the wrong method to accomplish their goals. I was once young and naive, like them.

That being said:

It's pathetic what passes for being a progressive today:
1. Blocking the freeway at night??!!
Who the fuck is going to see your protest??!!

Let's create a lawless, graffiti covered mess (CHAZ) and be proud.
99% of people think you are NUTS!

All your stupid, delusional protests make Trump seem sane in comparison.
Stay home. Muzzle Sawant. The election is Biden's to lose.
You people are doing a great job trying to lose.


@45: Have you actually watched the videos? Far more than "irresponsible driving". Confused and frustrated drivers don't just gun it into parked cars and people.

The DA should has a strong case for murder, if not then first degree manslaughter.


all lives matter unless you’re standing on a closed freeway at night in which case sorry but you kind of asked for it



If you don't want people protesting, maybe stop killing so many innocent people.


Isn't it interesting that the media (including this paper) downplays the fact that the driver of the Jaguar was a Black man? I'll be very curious to know what his motivation was; apparently he wasn't impaired.

I guess when the facts don't fit the narrative of 'Proud Boys and other racists attacking peaceful protesters', things tend to get swept under the rug.

That being said, blocking freeways in the name of 'protest' is NOT protected speech per the First Amendment. The fact the cops weren't swooping down on the protesters wasn't bc what they were doing was legal, but they figured these blockheads would get bored quicker and leave.

We need to start enforcing the laws, otherwise the City will be held hostage by every group of idiots with an agenda. Sunday night some knuckleheads tried to block the freeway to raise awareness for some situation in fucking Ethiopia. Really???

This whole thing has jumped the shark. It's no longer about achieving fairness in policing and incarceration. Now it seems to be mainly a bunch of spoiled white kids acting out for no other reason other than they can.

It's unfortunate that one person is dead and the other will probably be crippled for life, but you don't take over an interstate for a dance party, no matter how 'woke' you are.

Like others here have said, 'Play stupid games, win stupid prizes'. In the end Darwin always wins.


@51 there seem to be several examples of brown people or people of Asian descent In proud boys from pictures I’ve seen in the newS. so not sure how one can say that this driver didn’t have an anti-protestor Agenda. Seems like all Motives are still on the table and worthy of speculation! Also with considering - driver could be under mind-control or influence for dark forces to cause chaos and confuse the narrative of the protests. Asymmetric warfare from GRU, China, pro-trump factions or the deep state


@50: Such a convenient retort these days, no matter how extrapolated or contorted it may be to the event.



I don't necessarily disagree with you there, though I do feel like your comment would be more accurately directed toward cato @ 43 or 37.


Passing on the right shoulder is always reckless behavior. Even without the protest, he could have killed wsdot workers or ran into a parked car. I'm glad he is off the road!


Dawit Kelete was found to be sober, has zero record of any sort of strong politics, and "seemed sullen." The video looks like willful murder for sure, but the rest it doesn't add up. He stopped too, until enraged protesters started banging on his car. Could Kelete have just somehow colossally fucked up in a way and context that looks like right wing rage attack? I think it's possible that he is an immature, checked out young man who didn't know about the protests. Maybe he saw the empty freeway and decided it was closed for road work, no workers were present, so take dad's car for a crazy joy ride.

Or maybe he was apolitical but just snapped and decided fuck it, these protesters are a fucking PITA, so I'm going to run them the fuck over at 80mph?

It's bizarre irony that the driver was an ethnically Ethopian young Black man, precisely the type of person the two non-binary PNW white females were dancing on the freeway in the interest of protecting. If it wasn't so horrible it would seem like post modern fiction. Summer and Love run down, after the mayor talked derisively about the summer of love.

It's certainly a strange sad situation, right in tune with Seattle nowadays.

RIP Summer, pulling for Diaz, thankful for the first responders and doctors and nurses who've did all they could.



"Also worth considering - driver could be under mind-control or influence for dark forces to cause chaos and confuse the narrative of the protests. Asymmetric warfare from GRU, China, pro-trump factions or the deep state."

oh for fucksake c'mon


and did someone hijack @49's account? Usually so thoughtful ....


Taylor's family will eventually file a lawsuit against the driver, the WSP and the organizers of these I-5 protests.


@49: Hmm, not sure what your nuance is (re: 59).


60 - They are suing Paul McCartney for writing "Helter Skelter".


@58 wait til he starts claiming That he has no memory of the event. Why would we be surprised by something sinister. Lee Harvey Oswald. sirhan sirhan. Charlie Manson - MK Ultra. There is something really fishy to this story. Maybe Al Quaeda or ISIS. Funny how they have been so quiet on US territory recently. Russia has bounties in Afghan, why not here?


When people rise up against brutality and oppression there are some that are so upset that they rise up against it, they become hysterical and make many cruel and idiotic lies about the protestors. They must be stopped they yell. We can’t have people fighting against our system. Why don’t they stay home. They should shut up. Don’t rock the boat. etc. etc. etc.

We have ego driven maniac(s) in charge of this system e.g. Trump, the mayor etc......
We have Trump calling the left fascist when he is the fascist. Playing on words.
We have a class and racist etc. system that is under attack by brave people. It is very dangerous. But people are fed up and when they are fed up they just won’t stop.

Another life lost, a terrible grief and no turning back. We go on.


65 I hope you get the help you need.


51 We can see what you are and your kkk and /or neo nazi plans will never work.


@63. Hardly an comparison. This will be real. The organizers of these marches were on the media today disavowed any complicity blaming it all on the WSP. Good luck!