A middle-aged man who crashed his car into the motorcade of President Joe Biden on Sunday night has been identified by investigators.
Police allege James Cooper, 46, was traveling at a high rate of speed when he drove his white Ford sedan headfirst into a dark SUV waiting on President Biden during a stop in Wilmington, Delaware. Cooper has been charged with driving under the influence and has been released from custody, according to media reports.
“Following our investigation, Wilmington Police have determined that this was an accidental collision, and have charged the driver of the striking vehicle, a 46-year-old Wilmington man, with Driving a Vehicle Under the Influence of Alcohol and Inattentive Driving,” a Wilmington Police Department spokesperson said.
The president was not in the vehicle and was walking from another in the motorcade when the collision occurred. Footage from the incident shows President Biden briefly looking back after he heard the noise from the impact before Secret Service shuttled him into his campaign office.
The struck SUV was parked in the street to cordon off traffic during the president’s meeting. After Cooper allegedly struck the vehicle, he attempted to drive forward into a metal barricade, leading officers to charge his sedan with weapons drawn.
Steve Kopek, a spokesman for the Secret Service, said the president’s motorcade continued on its way following the traffic accident and that Cooper did not appear to be any further threat to Biden or First Lady Jill Biden, who was accompanying him during his campaign appearance.
High-profile incidents along the campaign trail have provoked concern about the threats posed by unhinged individuals resorting to violence and disruption during an election year. Vivek Ramaswamy has frequently sparred with demonstrators during his events, and in November a pro-Palestinian mob broke into the headquarters of the Democratic National Committee and clashed with police. Heightened tensions around Israel’s war with Hamas has led protestors into the halls of Congress as well, interrupting proceedings and forcing Capitol police to drag them from the building. Pete Buttigieg was recently chased off the stage by a group of radical environmental protestors, another sign that mayhem and further incidents of violence or accidents may not be far away as the nation heads into a pivotal election year.