Driver Detained After Truck Crashes Into Square Near the White House

Federal law enforcement authorities detained the driver of a box truck who has been charged with crashing the vehicle into security barriers near the White House late on Monday in what appeared to be an intentional act.

The driver, 19-year-old Sai Varshith Kandula, of Chesterfield, Mo., exited the box truck with a Nazi flag, which was later seen on the ground near the crash, according to Anthony Guglielmi, a spokesman for the Secret Service. A law enforcement official who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss the ongoing investigation said no weapons were found inside the truck. No one was injured.

The U.S. Park Police said Mr. Kandula has been arrested and charged with assault with a dangerous weapon, reckless operation of a motor vehicle, threatening to kill or kidnap or harm a president, vice president or family member, the destruction of federal property and trespassing.

Officers with the Secret Service and Park Police responded to the incident at about 9:40 p.m. on Monday. The truck crashed into security barriers along Lafayette Square, a leafy park near the White House.

According to the Park Police, the early investigation indicated that the truck was intentionally crashed into the security barriers.

Chesterfield, where Mr. Kandula is from, is a suburb west of St. Louis. According to the Rockwood School District, Mr. Kandula graduated from Marquette Senior High School in 2022. While he was there, he was involved in the student council during his sophomore year and the boy’s tennis team during his sophomore and junior years, the school district’s spokeswoman, Mary LaPak, said.

The Chesterfield Police Department said it has no record of interaction with Mr. Kandula, according to an official there.

Police officials have fortified the White House in recent years in response to instances of people breaching the complex. The Secret Service began upgrading the White House perimeter fences last year, doubling their height to roughly 13 feet. A toddler breached that fence last month after squeezing through the bars on the north side of the complex.

There have been at least two deadly incidents of vehicles crashing into barricades near Capitol Hill in the past two years. In 2021, nearly three months after the deadly Jan. 6 riot, a car slammed into two Capitol Police officers, killing one and injuring the other. The assailant, Noah R. Green, was shot dead after lunging at police officers with a knife.

In August, another man drove his car into a barricade near the Capitol. The man, Richard A. York III, then exited the burning vehicle and fired a gun into the air several times before shooting himself as police officers approached him.

Chris Cameron contributed reporting, and Kitty Bennett contributed research.

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