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Secret Service: Woman arrested after driving car into security barrier near White House

Secret Service officials say a woman is in custody after she drove into a security barrier near the White House Friday afternoon. (ABC7)

Secret Service took a 35-year-old Tennessee woman into custody Friday afternoon after she drove into a security barrier near the White House.

According to a statement released by the Secret Service Friday evening, the woman intentionally drove her van into the security barrier and was immediately arrested following the incident. They say they have "had previous encounters with the female in the vicinity of the White House resulting in numerous arrests for a variety of criminal violations."

Read the statement in full below:

“Today, Friday, February 23rd at 2:53 pm, a 35-year-old white female from LaVergne, Tennessee, intentionally drove a white van into a security barrier near the White House at 17th and E Street. The vehicle did not breach the security barrier of the White House complex. The female was immediately apprehended by Secret Service Uniformed Division Officers. No law enforcement personnel were injured during the incident and no shots were fired. The Secret Service has had previous encounters with the female in the vicinity of the White House resulting in numerous arrests for a variety of criminal violations. The female was again charged today with numerous criminal violations and transported to the Metropolitan Police Department. The White House complex has returned to normal operations.”

According to D.C. Police and the D.C. Superior Court, the woman who was arrested is Jessica Rhea Ford.

She was previously arrested on May 16, 2017, for jumping over the bike rack on Pennsylvania Avenue and attempting to climb the White House North Fence, according to a previous Secret Service statement.

No shots were fired during today's incident, according to the Secret Service.

Video from the scene, courtesy of Kimberlie Flauto, shows smoke after the crash:

"No law enforcement personnel were injured during the incident involving a vehicle hitting a barrier near the White House," Secret Service tweeted.

Here's a look at the scene around the White House:

The vehicle crashed at the corner of 17th Street and E Street NW, just around the corner from the White House at around 2:53 p.m., according to officials.

"The vehicle did not breach the security barrier of the White House complex," officials said.

According to a Metropolitan Police Department report, Ford had a gun in her hand that was pointed away from officers as she tried to ram the security barrier. Officers removed it from her hand before pulling her out of her vehicle and taking her into custody.

Per the police report, Ford is charged with unlawful entry, carrying a pistol without a license, unregistered firearm, aggravated assault on a police officer, assault with a dangerous weapon-car, destruction of government property and contempt of court.

The police report says the woman called the pistol a “BB gun” and said she had brought it “because if James Burris was the President, the officers would shoot her to protect him.”

UPDATE: Jessica Ford made her first court appearance Saturday, Feb. 24.


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