Man who crashed U-Haul near White House barriers pleads guilty


A Missouri man who crashed a rented U-Haul truck into security barriers near the White House last year has pleaded guilty to damaging government property, federal prosecutors announced Monday.

Sai Varshith Kandula, 20, was driving the truck on May 22 last year when he veered onto the sidewalk before crashing into the security barriers around Lafayette Square in front of the White House, per authorities. After reversing the truck and striking the barriers a second time, Kandula exited the then-disabled truck and showed a flag with a Nazi swastika before authorities intervened.

No injuries were reported in the incident, though he almost hit two individuals standing in the area.

He pleaded guilty Monday to a charge of willful injury or depredation of property of the United States and will be sentenced in August by U.S. District Judge Dabney Friedrich, the Department of Justice said.

Upon his arrest, he was taken into custody and told authorities he was trying to “get to the White House, seize power, and be put in charge of the nation,” per court documents.

“Kandula’s intent was to replace the democratically elected government with a dictatorship fueled by the ideology of Nazi Germany and for himself to be put in charge of the United States,” the Justice Department said in a release. “Kandula admitted to investigators that he would have arranged for the killing of the U.S. President and others if necessary to achieve his objective.”

Kandula, who is from Chesterfield, Miss. faces a maximum sentence of 10 years and prosecutors agreed to recommend a prison sentence of no more than 8 years, the Associated Press reported.

Federal prosecutors said Kandula, who was 19 at the time of the incident, spent weeks planning the attack. Before renting and crashing the truck, he repeatedly requested armed guards and an armored convoy from several security companies.

After his attempts were unsuccessful, Kandula flew from St. Louis, Miss. to Washington, D.C. on May 22 and rented a U-Haul truck before crashing it near the White House hours later, per court documents.

The incident resulted in $4,322 in damage to the National Park Service, including the barrier repairs, oil and chemical removal, spill cleanup and the disposal of fluids from the crashed U-Haul, prosecutors noted.

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