2 women hit by car on Seattle highway closed amid protests

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, Washington State Patrol spokesperson Trooper Rick Johnson 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,” Johnson 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, Johnson tweeted.

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 handful of protesters on the freeway, striking two people who flew into the air before landing on the ground.

Further details weren't immediately available, but state troopers planned a press conference for 4 a.m. Seattle police tweeted that they were assisting the State Patrol with the scene, as southbound lanes of the freeway remained closed for investigation.

Seattle has been the site of prolonged unrest following the May 25 police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis, which sparked nationwide protests. Interstate 5 has been closed at times for protests in the weeks since, and 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.