Man drives truck onto National Mall, claims he has anthrax

WASHINGTON — A man drove a pickup truck onto the grassy area of the National Mall Tuesday afternoon and claimed he had anthrax, prompting road closures and an investigation.

Just before 3 p.m., a man parked his white, four-door truck in the middle of the grassy area of the National Mall near 3rd Street and Madison Drive. The man claimed he had anthrax — a serious infectious disease, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

A Hazmat team from D.C. Fire and EMS Department responded to the scene to assist, and the man was taken into custody by D.C. police.

Prior to the incident, the man — whose name has not yet been released — had called U.S. Capitol Police to tell them he had been exposed to anthrax, said U.S. Park Police spokeswoman Sgt. Anna Rose. Also, he let police know he collected what he believed to be anthrax and that it was with him in his truck, Rose added.

The man was swabbed and checked for anthrax and the test came back negative, Rose said.

“He was clear of any infection, and just to be clear, there’s no threat to the public from this man; he’s not threatening us in any way,” Rose said.

The man told officials he saw the substance being spread on a field in Virginia, thought it was a threat to people and collected it to warn others of the danger, Rose said.

D.C. Fire spokesman Doug Buchanan says the man is being described as mentally disturbed.

The investigation is causing some road closures. Both 3rd and 4th streets are closed in the area.

Below is a map of the location of the incident:

WTOP’s Samantha Loss contributed to this report.

Sarah Beth Hensley

Sarah Beth Hensley is the Digital News Director at WTOP. She has worked several different roles since she began with WTOP in 2013 and has contributed to award-winning stories and coverage on the website.

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