The Secret Service agent driving Harris in a sport utility vehicle struck the curb of a downtown tunnel hard enough that the vehicle’s tire needed to be replaced, bringing the motorcade to a standstill near Foggy Bottom at about 10:20 a.m., said the people, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to share internal discussions.
Harris had to be transferred to another vehicle in the motorcade so agents could safely spirit her to the White House. The routine nature of the travel and the high level of training required for agents who drive the president and vice president led many in the Secret Service, as well as Harris, to question how such an accident could happen.
The Secret Service also failed to note key details of the incident in an electronic message formally alerting senior leadership to the motorcade’s delay. The agency’s protective intelligence division reported that “a mechanical failure” in the lead car had forced agents to transfer Harris to another vehicle during a scheduled movement to the White House, according to details of the alert shared with The Washington Post.