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Driver crashes into White House exterior gate, Secret Service says

A driver was taken into custody Monday night after crashing into a White House exterior gate, a Secret Service spokesman said. 

The driver collided with the gate shortly before 6 p.m. local time, Secret Service spokesperson Anthony Guglielmi said. Police cleared the vehicle less than two hours later. 

President Biden was not at the White House at the time of the crash. Mr. Biden was in South Carolina for a campaign event earlier Monday and was en route to Texas on Monday evening.  

Traffic was impacted near 15th Street and Pennsylvania Avenue, which is the eastern side of the White House complex near the Treasury Building, after the crash, authorities said. Closures were lifted after the vehicle was cleared. 

Officials have not yet released any identifying information about the driver. It was not immediately clear if there would be any charges. 

Law enforcement officers briefed on the incident told CBS News the driver was a man who is believed to have mental health challenges. He was under evaluation after being taken into custody, the officers said, adding there was no ongoing threat.  

An SUV crashed into a gate outside the White House on Monday, January 8, 2024. Andrew Leyden

Pictures from the scene show what appears to be a silver or gray Cadillac Escalade with Virginia plates.

Drivers have crashed at White House security barriers in the past. In May, a U-Haul truck driver crashed into security barriers around Lafayette Square across the street from the White House, officials said at the time. The 19-year-old driver had a Nazi flag with him when he was arrested, according to court documents.

In 2019, the Secret Service said a driver tried to get into the White House complex by following an official vehicle through a gate.

That year, the Secret Service started construction on a 13-foot, 1-inch high fence, which was more than double the size of the previous 6-foot fence. The higher fence also has wider and stronger pickets. The improvements came after several high-profile incidents of intruders and fence-jumpers getting onto White House grounds. 

— Nicole Sganga contributed reporting.  

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