New Jersey man charged with assault after crash into Washington Monument barrier

A New Jersey man is in custody after allegedly driving his SUV toward a group of people at the Washington Monument Saturday night.

Jack Dessin, 38, has been charged with assault with a dangerous weapon and destruction of government property, the U.S. Park Police said. He will be held without bond until his next court appearance, which is scheduled for July 26.

D.C. police said Dessin was driving toward a group of people on the sidewalk near the monument around 7:30 p.m. Saturday. He came within 500 feet of the obelisk before crashing into the surrounding stone wall.

No pedestrians were hit.

According to charging documents filed Monday in D.C. Superior Court, one person told U.S. Park Police that they were walking on a paved path southeast of the monument when a dark blue Ford Expedition “driving down the opposing path” made a hard-left turn and aimed the vehicle at them.

A relative pulled that person over a stone wall, before the Expedition crashed into it, Park Police said.

Another witness told officers that the vehicle had been “driving in circles,” and that it appeared the driver was trying to get back onto a road.

“My son and I were kind of like, ‘What’s going on? That seems weird.’ It looked like he was looking for an exit and then all of a sudden it turned to, no … there is something wrong here,” Nicholas Kline said.

Witnesses also told NBC Washington that the driver appeared to be agitated and drove in figure 8s on the monument grounds.

According to charging documents, Dessin “stated that he texted that he planned this, that the FBI has been watching him, and that they should have known.”

Dessin swore at Facebook and other big tech companies when he was asked why he did it in a smartphone video. Michael Vachon, who lives nearby and pulled Dessin out of his car, told NBC Washington that Dessin told him the government was trying to kill him.

“And he was like, ‘The government is trying to kill me.’ I’m like, ‘The government is not trying to kill you. Lie down,'” Vachon said.

Dessin suffered minor injuries and was taken to the hospital in custody.

The monument was closed following the crash and on the Fourth of July.

NBC Washington’s Cory Smith and WTOP’s Jack Pointer, Neal Augenstein and Dick Uliano contributed to this report.

Luke Garrett

Luke Garrett is a D.C. native dedicated to journalism. He is the co-creator, host and producer of the original WTOP podcast, “Is It Normal Yet?!” The podcast debuted in 2021 and takes a weekly look at how the D.C. region is dealing with coronavirus.

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