U-Haul driver faces multiple charges after crashing into security barrier near White House in Lafayette Square, police say
(CNN) A man crashed a U-Haul truck into a security barrier near the White House on Monday night, which authorities are investigating as a potentially intentional incident.
Sai Varshith Kandula, 19, of Chesterfield, Missouri, is in custody and faces multiple charges, including making threats to kill or harm a president, vice president or family member, US Park Police said. The Secret Service said there were no injuries to any agency or White House personnel.
The truck crashed into safety barriers on the north side of Lafayette Square at 16th Street just before 1 p.m. 10 p.m. ET, the US Secret Service said. A preliminary investigation revealed the driver may have hit the barrier on purpose, the agency later said.
Video taken by a witness showed the 26-foot moving truck stopped on the sidewalk near Lafayette Square before the driver accelerates and crashes into a set of security bollards that ring the White House complex to prevent unauthorized traffic.
After the crash, the truck was searched by bomb squads and no explosives or incendiary devices were found, a law enforcement source familiar with the investigation told CNN.
Video from CNN affiliate WUSA shows a remote-controlled police robot approaching the back of the truck and lifting the cargo door, followed by an FBI bomb technician inspecting the vehicle. A Park police officer was later seen taking inventory of the U-Haul truck and wrapping up more evidence. Among the items that appear to be from the truck are a flag with what appears to be a swastika, a black backpack and a roll of duct tape. The truck of the moving truck appeared to be empty.
Kandula also faces charges of assault with a dangerous weapon, reckless operation of a motor vehicle, destruction of federal property and trespassing, Park Police said.
The incident led to roadblocks as authorities investigated the crash, and the nearby Hay-Adams Hotel was evacuated at the request of the Secret Service, a hotel employee told CNN. The hotel’s guests and employees were allowed back in when the police a short time later assessed that it was safe.
The FBI’s National Capital Response Squad is assisting Park Police and the Secret Service in the investigation.