Woman drives into White House barricade, claims fiance is president
Washington - The Tennessee woman who police said attempted to drive her vehicle into a White House barricade yelled out in court during her initial hearing Saturday: "My fiance is the president."
Jessica Ford, 35, of La Vergne, Tennessee, was arrested by Secret Service officers Friday shortly after the incident which began around 3 p.m., when she attempted to drive her white van into a barricade. According to court documents, authorities say Ford, while sitting behind the wheel, was also holding what appeared to have been a handgun.
Officers at the scene Friday, according to the documents, ordered Ford multiple times to drop the gun. Ford refused. An officer reached through the driver's side window and removed the gun from her hands. Ford then refused to exit the vehicle, at which point officers pulled her out through the window and placed her under arrest.
No shots were fired. Authorities later determined the weapon was an unloaded BB gun.
Ford was charged with three felonies: act of physical violence against property in a restricted grounds using a deadly or dangerous weapon, forcibly resisting and impeding federal officers using a deadly or dangerous weapon, and property damage in excess of $1 000 (about R11 500).
Ford has had previous encounters with White House security. D.C. Superior Court records showed Ford was arrested three times last year on charge of either unlawful entry or violating a court order to stay away from the White House. Records showed she also received psychiatric counseling. Ford received a 90-day suspended jail sentence in one case, and another charge was dismissed, records indicated.
In an incident in April, a Secret Service officer questioned Ford in Lafayette Square, and according to an arrest affidavit, she told him: "I'm going to jump the fence." She ran to the fence and tried to climb it.
She was arrested, pleaded guilty to unlawful entry and was sentenced to 30 days in jail, all suspended, and put on a year's probation.
According to the police report in Friday's incident, she said "she had the 'BB Gun' because if James Burris was the President the officers would shoot her to protect him and that she knowingly brought the gun with her."
As US marshals led Ford into D.C. Superior Court on Saturday, Judge Hiram Puig-Lugo, looking over her charging documents, asked why the White House was listed as Ford's residence. Ford then yelled, "My fiance is the president."
She then yelled, "I haven't seen my children in six years. What would you do? I just want my kids back."
A prosecutor asked that Ford be held in D.C. jail until her next hearing in U.S. District Court on Monday. The prosecutor said Ford was on probation for two previous incidents involving unlawful entry of the White House, and as part of her probation, she was ordered to stay away from 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. NW.
Puig-Lugo also agreed to order Ford to undergo a psychological evaluation. But Ford's court-appointed attorney, Gretchen Franklin, objected to the evaluation, saying that her client showed no signs of being incompetent.
"She knows what is going on and why she is here," Franklin said.
Puig Lugo then agreed not to order Ford to undergo the psychological evaluation but ordered her to remain in jail until her next hearing Monday.
Before Ford was led out of the courtroom, she yelled out again, wanting the judge to know that the weapon found was a BB gun and that it was unloaded.