‘Suspicious' Car Crashes Into Capitol Police Cruiser, Injuring Officer

A U.S. Capitol Police officer suffered minor injuries when a car crashed into his cruiser and a barrier Monday morning near the Library of Congress and U.S. Capitol Building. 

The car was westbound on Independence Avenue SE when it crashed at Second Street about 11:45 a.m., Capitol Police said.

Police used a robot to search the "suspicious" car. Several first responders yelled "Fire in the hole!" as police used two loud, controlled explosions to disrupt any explosives that might be in the trunk.

A bomb technician examined and cleared the car, Capitol Police said.

Police said they found no evidence of terrorism in the incident.

The car was towed from the scene just after 4 p.m.

The driver of the car, 33-year-old Jaime Villatoro, of College Park, Maryland, also suffered minor injuries. D.C. Fire and EMS took Villatoro and the officer to a hospital for treatment. The officer was treated and released, Capitol Police said.

Villatoro was charged with assault with a deadly weapon (vehicle), felony assaulting a police officer, aggravated reckless driving and no valid permit.

Several roads were closed for hours during the investigation. Independence Avenue SE was closed between Washington Avenue and Third Street. Second Street SE was closed between East Capitol Street and C Street. Pennsylvania Avenue SE was closed between Third Street and Second Street.

Previous Incidents Near the Capitol

Security near the Capitol is high, and incidents can have serious consequences. 

In March, Capitol Police fired shots at a woman who they say fled from a traffic stop and nearly hit an officer. Family members of Taleah Everett, 20, said she was mentally ill and did not get the care she needed.

In March 2016, a Capitol Police officer shot and injured a man who brought a weapon into the U.S. Capitol Visitor Center. Larry R. Dawson, 66, was known to law enforcement and frequented the Capitol grounds.

In October 2013, 34-year-old Miriam Carey was shot and killed by law enforcement after she hit a security barrier and a Secret Service officer outside the White House. She then led police on a chase that ended near the Capitol. The dental hygienist who drove to D.C. from Connecticut had her 1-year-old daughter in the car. The child was not hurt. Her family later said she had been suffering from postpartum depression and psychosis. 

What Capitol Police See 

Hundreds of dangerous drivers have been stopped near the Capitol in recent years. The News4 I-Team found about 300 cases of drivers stopped for driving under the influence on Capitol grounds since 2014. Additionally, people were found to have been driving without licenses and with drugs in the vehicles.

U.S. Capitol Police have jurisdiction spanning several blocks around the Capitol Building itself. Congressional leaders say that's because they want to stop threats before they get close to this focal point of the U.S. government.

Stay with News4 for more details on this developing story.

Contact Us