Texas Gov. George W. Bush, jogging near downtown Austin today, narrowly escaped serious injury when an oncoming truck spilled a load of construction debris in his path, forcing Bush to leap out of the way, police said.
Bush, the leading contender for the 2000 Republican presidential nomination, suffered "minor bruises and abrasions to his right leg and hip," but did not require hospital treatment, his office said in a statement.
Police said Bush was jogging on a hiking-and-biking path beside busy Cesar Chavez Street, about a mile south of the Governor's Mansion, when the incident occurred shortly after noon.
The truck, pulling a flatbed trailer loaded with debris, was headed in Bush's direction at undetermined speed when the trailer tipped and the load began to spill, said Austin police spokeswoman Tracey Karol. She said Bush, 53, who was about four feet from the road, narrowly jumped to safety as the rubble flew and tumbled toward him.
A member of his security detail, Sgt. Roscoe Hughey, 39, of the Texas Department of Public Safety, was struck by the debris and knocked from his bicycle, said public safety spokesman Tom Vinger. He said Hughey was treated at an Austin hospital and released.
"He wound up sort of semi-buried" in the rubble, Vinger said of Hughey, who was riding behind the governor and was unable to get out of the way of the debris. Vinger said Hughey "is real sore" but has "no broken bones, just a lot of cuts and bruises."
Bush was treated at the scene of the incident by emergency medical technicians and declined to be taken to a hospital, Vinger said.
"Governor Bush is in good condition and good spirits," his office said, adding that Bush departed as scheduled this afternoon on a campaign trip to New Hampshire.
Later, in a telephone call from New Hampshire, Bush told the Associated Press: "I was at the end of a three-mile run when I heard the noise, looked back, saw it start to tip and my instincts were to dive." He said he scraped his right leg and hip when he dived behind a bridge support, but was not struck by debris from the truck. "I've got a significant strawberry."
Karol said it was unclear what caused the trailer to tip. She said the truck driver, who immediately braked as the debris began falling, was interviewed by police and released. She said police will not decide whether to issue a traffic citation to the driver until after an investigation.
Campaign spokeswoman Mindy Tucker said there was no reason to suspect that the driver intended to hit the governor.
CAPTION: Crews remove debris that spilled from a truck trailer into the path of Texas Gov. George W. Bush on a noontime jog.