A 27-year-old Seattle man was arrested Saturday after his white Jaguar struck and critically injured two women during a protest along a closed stretch of Interstate 5 in downtown Seattle, state police said.

The driver, Dawit Kelete, of Seattle, was booked on two counts of vehicular assault and denied bail. Troopers did not know if the incident was a targeted attack, but impairment was not considered a factor, Washington State Patrol Capt. Ron Mead said. 

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

A 24-year-old woman from Seattle and a 32-year-old woman from Bellingham were in critical condition with multiple injuries, according to Harborview Medical Center spokeswoman Susan Gregg.

A woman filmed the protest in a nearly two-hour-long Facebook livestream captioned “Black Femme March takes I-5” when the video 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.

Officials were trying to determine the motive as well as point of entry onto the interstate. Mead said the driver was suspected to have driven the wrong way on a ramp. Mead said troopers did not know whether it was a targeted attack, but impairment was not considered a factor. 

Earlier this week: Seattle police clear CHOP zone and make arrests after mayor orders protesters to leave

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. 

Mead told reporters 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 cease what he termed “unlawful behavior” in blocking the interstate.

“My hope is, as a result of this tragedy, protesters will reconsider their desire to be on the interstate because I cannot guarantee their safety, plain and simple,” Mead said.

Contributing: Associated Press

More: Teenager killed, another wounded in shooting inside Seattle’s occupied zone

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Seattle freeway protest: 2 injured as car plows through crowd on I-5

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