Truck crashes into security barriers near White House; driver arrested

A driver was arrested and a Nazi flag was seized from the scene after a truck crashed into security barriers near the White House on Monday night.

The Secret Service said the incident may have been intentional but that there were no injuries.

U.S. Park Police spokesman Thomas Twiname said Tuesday that the adult male suspect was arrested on suspicion of threatening to kill, kidnap or inflict harm on the president, vice president or a family member. Authorities have not provided further details on the alleged threat.

Arrest charges associated with the incident also included alleged assault with a dangerous weapon, reckless operation of a vehicle, trespassing and destruction of federal property, Twiname said.

The white U-Haul box truck crashed into the barriers on the north side of Lafayette Square, just a few hundred feet from the White House, just before 10 p.m. ET.

“There were no injuries to any Secret Service or White House personnel and the cause and manner of the crash remain under investigation,” Anthony Guglielmi, the Secret Service chief of communications, said in a statement Monday night.

Box truck crashes into security barriers near White House
A U-Haul truck is moved away from Lafayette Park across from the White House. Nathan Howard / Reuters via Redux

Guglielmi said in a later statement posted to Twitter that the truck had been deemed safe by Washington D.C. police and that “preliminary investigation reveals the driver may have intentionally struck the security barriers.” Park Police would file charges with investigative support from the Secret Service, Guglielmi said.

The Reuters news agency published an image showing a Nazi-style red flag emblazoned with a swastika laid on the floor beside the van. Reuters, citing its own photographer on the scene and a witness, reported that this and other pieces of evidence apparently taken from the truck had been placed on the sidewalk and were then seized by officers.

Authorities have not commented on the flag. NBC News has reached out to the Secret Service for comment.

Video footage later showed a robot opening the back of the truck, which appeared to be empty.

A spokesperson for the nearby Hay Adams hotel told NBC News that guests were told to evacuate the building but were allowed back in at 1 a.m. ET Tuesday.

President Joe Biden’s exact whereabouts at the time of the incident were unclear. He had met with House Speaker Kevin McCarthy Monday night at the White House to discuss the debt limit.

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