Crews work to clean up after a car crashed into a tree at the intersection of South Capitol and D streets SE. (Patrick Svitek / Washington Post)

A 19-year-old Virginia man was killed early Friday when his SUV struck a flower planter at the edge of the U.S. Capitol security perimeter, went airborne and struck a tree, authorities said.

The driver, identified as Hunter B. Harries of McLean, struck the obstacles at South Capitol and D streets SE about 3 a.m., D.C. police said. He was the vehicle’s lone occupant.

The cause of the crash was not immediately clear. The car had been heading north on South Capitol Street when it reached the vehicle entrance to the security perimeter. The entrance was closed and was blocked by the planter, police said.

U.S. Capitol Police said the SUV was speeding, but they did not say how fast it was going.

Harries was a first-year student at Rollins College in Winter Park, Fla. Rollins students have been on spring break since Sunday, a college spokeswoman said.

He graduated last year from Portsmouth Abbey School, a boarding school in Rhode Island, an official of that school said.

A statement issued on behalf of the young man’s friends said that those who knew him “regarded him as one of the nicest” and most caring people they had met.

Peter Hermann and Dana Hedgpeth contributed to this report.