Sullivan Suffers Minor Injuries in Car Accident on Capitol Grounds

Posted July 23, 2003 at 2:37pm

Freshman Rep. John Sullivan (R-Okla.) went to the hospital for minor injuries Wednesday afternoon after his car collided with one of the barriers guarding access to the Capitol’s House-side parking area. No other individuals were involved.

“It looks like one of the electronic barriers just malfunctioned,” said Jay Wiley, spokesman for Sullivan. The barriers elevate from the pavement when activated by the Capitol Police in order to prevent unapproved vehicles from approaching restricted areas of the Capitol complex.

“It tore the front bumper off and the airbags deployed,” Wiley said Sullivan was ushered to the hospital, where he will be fully examined, but preliminary findings show that his injuries are limited to cuts and bruises.

“He was taken by ambulance, because in D.C., that’s really the only way he could’ve gotten there,” said Wiley.

“He is awake and alert,” he added. “The hospital is completing tests on him and then he will be released.”

A Capitol Police spokeswoman said the department is still investigating the incident to determine the cause. “They are examining speed, a possible malfunction — everything,” said the spokeswoman.

Sullivan’s accident occurred in the House side parking area where Representatives often park while attending a vote.

Shortly after the accident, Capitol architects began testing the barriers to see if they are functioning properly.