May 22 (Reuters) – The U.S. Secret Service said it had detained the driver of a rented truck who crashed into security barriers near the White House on Monday night, possibly intentionally, but there were no injuries or danger. continuous.
A Reuters witness said investigators found a Nazi swastika flag apparently coming from inside the truck, which crashed into barriers in Lafayette Square, adjacent to the White House grounds.
Agents recovered the flag and plastic evidence bags that had been laid out on the sidewalk after the crash and placed them in the back of the U-Haul, a Reuters photographer said.
“Preliminary investigation reveals that the driver may have intentionally struck security barriers in Lafayette Square,” Anthony Guglielmi, the Secret Service’s communications chief, said on Twitter.
US Park Police would file charges with investigative support from the Secret Service, he added.
WUSA television showed video of a box-type U-Haul truck stopped next to a row of steel bollards, with uniformed law enforcement officers and a dog approaching the vehicle. A remote-controlled robot opened the truck’s rear door, revealing a dolly but no other obvious cargo.
Chris Zaboji, a witness to the accident, posted a short video on social media showing the truck crashing into the barricades. The video was verified by Reuters. After crashing once, the driver hit the barriers a second time, he said.
Zaboji, 25, an airline pilot who lives in Washington, said he had just finished jogging on the National Mall and was walking home when he heard a loud bang.
“I looked back and saw that the U-Haul truck had rammed into the barricade. I backed up behind a guy in a golf cart and recorded the video on my phone. After I saw it ram again, I didn’t want to be in nowhere”. near the truck and left,” Zaboji said.
An earlier tweet by Guglielmi from the Secret Service said that no one from the White House or the Secret Service was hurt.
The exact location of President Joe Biden at the time was unclear. He met with the Speaker of the United States House of Representatives, Kevin McCarthy, at the White House on Monday night.
The nearby Hay Adams Hotel was evacuated at the request of the Secret Service, the Washington Post reported, citing a hotel official, while the Secret Service said some roads and pedestrian paths around the park were closed.
A spokesman for the Washington Fire Department said it received a call at 9:40 pm (0140 GMT) for what was described as an investigation of a suspicious package.
There was soon a major police and public safety response, before investigators determined that the mostly empty contents of the truck were harmless.
Reporting by Daniel Trotta; edited by Costas Pitas
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