London’s Downing Street, where Prime Minister Rishi Sunak resides and works, was struck by a vehicle around 4:20 p.m. on Thursday. A modest barrier to prevent vehicles from turning onto the street couldn’t halt the car before the big black wrought-iron security gates. Surveillance footage shows a silver Kia moving slowly over Whitehall Street before it crashes. It was speculated that the car had come from the Ministry of Defense’s adjacent parking lot.
The disaster looks to be a copycat of a similar one that occurred Monday night in Washington, DC, not far from the White House, and involved a U-Haul moving truck.
According to court documents, the man suspected of plowing the truck into security barriers close to the White House praised Hitler and told investigators he planned to “kill the President” and take over the government with himself in power.
However, the suspect in the UK case has been detained on charges of criminal damage and hazardous driving. The automobile was parked near the towering metal gates shortly after the event, with the trunk open, as authorities examined the vehicle and removed things to place in evidence bags. The car was taken away from the site around two hours later.
“Number 10” refers to 10 Downing Street, the official house and office of the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom. Number 10 was closed after the crash until the Prime Minister could safely evacuate.
As the heart of the British government, Downing Street has extensive defenses. The security gates were constructed in the 1980s, but the area has been closed to automobiles since the 1970s. After a mortar strike by the IRA in 1991, during the time known as “The Troubles,” additional security measures were implemented.
The event resulted in the closure of a significant portion of Whitehall; however, no injuries were recorded, and the route is currently open to traffic in both directions.