A New Hampshire man is dead and four Secret Service agents have been injured after a head-on car collision Tuesday hours after Democratic Presidential Candidate Hillary Clinton’s campaign motorcade passed through the area.
The collision occurred about 7 p.m. Tuesday night on Route 16 south of Wakefield, near the border with Maine, NBC News reported.
Bruce Danforth, 45, died on the scene, and two of his passengers — Natasha Meroski, 35, and Kristina Buswell, 21 — were injured and taken to the hospital, but their conditions are unknown, the Washington Post reported.
Four Secret Service agents were taken to local hospitals as well, and Director Joseph Clancy described their injuries as serious, but not life-threatening. One of the men were eventually transferred, WMUR added.
Danforth was driving his Mercury Sable north on the roadway when his car crossed the double-yellow solid center line and slammed head on with a Ford Taurus, carrying four on-duty Secret Service agents.
The two surviving women in the Sable were rushed to Frisbee Memorial Hospital and Huggins Hospital, to which the Secret Service officers were also taken. Later, one of them was transferred to Massachusetts General Hospital.
Police in Wakefield and the New Hampshire State Police are investigating the car collision.
So far, authorities haven’t discussed what factors may have caused the car collision, but the state recently had its first big snowstorm of the winter on Tuesday and, according to the Associated Press, the roads at the time were reportedly covered in snow, sleet, and ice. The Post described roads as “dangerous throughout the state.”
Clinton happened to be traveling between campaign stops in the area that day and described her journey as challenging, possibly alluding to the weather.
Whether or not weather was a factor has not yet been confirmed. Also unconfirmed is the reason the officers were driving through Wakefield on Tuesday. However, news media have speculated that they may have been tied to Hillary Clinton’s campaign.
They weren’t part of any candidate’s protective detail, the Post noted, but comprised a “jump team” assigned to augment security and stand post at campaign events. They were reportedly driving from one event to the other during the car collision, and they’re believed to be based in field offices in New England.
State police haven’t confirmed that the Secret Service was assigned to her campaign. However, they confirmed that her motorcade passed through what would become, five hours later, an accident scene. She had a town hall meeting a Berlin that night, which is located north of Wakefield.
The state hosts the nation’s first presidential primary on February 9, making it a hotspot for presidential candidates. Some of them have been traveling with the Secret Service.
This isn’t the first time the agency has been involved in a fatal car collision. In 2012, an undercover agent struck and killed a mom of five. In 2009 in Maryland, two of their vehicles killed a pedestrian. Weeks before that, agents struck a New York City cab, but no one was killed.
Back in 2008, one of Clinton’s escorts was killed in a Dallas accident and she canceled a rally as a result. And 30 years ago, three agents protecting Queen Elizabeth II died when their vehicle was hit by a sheriff’s cruiser in Yosemite National Park.
The agency hasn’t been free from controversy lately, either. Before Christmas, a gun, badge, radio, and handcuffs were stolen from an agent’s vehicle near headquarters in D.C. And two months ago, another agent was caught sending elicit sexual text messages to what he thought was an underage girl.
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