19-Year-Old Crashes U-Haul Into Security Barrier Near White House; Nazi Flag Found
A 19-year-old from Missouri was arrested on several charges, including threatening to kill or harm a president, after he crashed a U-haul truck into the security barriers near the White House on Monday night, officials said.
The driver, identified as Sai Varshith Kandula of Chesterfield, “intentionally crashed” the rental box truck just a few hundred feet from the White House, the Secret Service said.
Kandula was also charged with threatening to kill, kidnap or inflict harm on the vice president or a family member, assault with a dangerous weapon, reckless operation of a vehicle, trespassing and destruction of federal property, U.S. Park Police spokesman Thomas Twiname said Tuesday.
The white U-Haul box truck crashed into the barriers on the north side of Lafayette Square, at 16th Street, 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.
A Reuters photographer on the scene reported seeing police take the Nazi flag from inside the truck and placing it on the sidewalk, where officers seized it. Authorities have not commented on the flag. NBC News has reached out to the Secret Service for comment.
A law enforcement official told NBC News that the suspect made threatening statements about the White House before officers detained him.
Benjamin Berger was nearby and witnessed the crash. He told NBC Washington that he heard the crash, and then saw the driver ram the barrier a second time.
“I turn around and just see people running away from this U-Haul,” Berger said. “And then I thought he might have just crashed, or it might have been by accident, but then I saw the vehicle back up and hit it again. So I proceeded to run away as well.”