Man Accused of Driving Into Crowd Near Washington Monument Said 'Government' Wants Him Dead

A New Jersey man has been arrested after allegedly crashing his car near the Washington Monument on Saturday, after narrowly missing several people near the landmark.

Jack Joseph Dessin, 38, has been charged with assault with a dangerous weapon (automobile) and destruction of government property, United States Park Police (USPP) said in a news release. He's expected to appear in federal court Monday, but it's unclear if he has an attorney.

According to Park Police, Dessin allegedly drove his SUV toward a crowd of pedestrians walking on the sidewalk near the Monument around 7:30 p.m.—less than 24 hours before thousands of people would gather on the Mall for the Fourth of July fireworks display.

"On scene, officers discovered that Dessin's vehicle struck the security barrier located in the southeast quadrant of the Washington Monument grounds and no pedestrians were injured," the USPP statement read.

WRC-TV reported that witnesses on the scene said it appeared the driver was trying to hit people who were gathered near the Monument.

"My son and I were kind of like, 'What's going on? That seems weird.' It looked like he was looking for an exit and then all of a sudden it turned to, no... there is something wrong here," witness Nicholas Kline told the station.

WRC also reported that witnesses said the vehicle, which had an American flag hanging from its passenger door and was covered in signs, had been doing figure eights and other erratic maneuvers before crashing.

"He was going down the walkway and people were running out of the way. And then he ran right into that wall, literally just missing somebody by I would say a foot," Kline told WRC.

No motive for the incident has been given.

WRC reported that witness Michael Vachon pulled the driver out of the vehicle after he crashed into a wall near the monument. Vachon said the driver told him he was "dying" after Vachon asked what his problem was.

"And he was like, 'The government is trying to kill me.' I'm like, 'The government is not trying to kill you. Lie down,'" Vachnon said.

Another bystander asked him about his motive and he said expletives about Facebook, Google and Twitter, WRC reported.

The Washington Monument hasn't reopened since it was shuttered for the coronavirus pandemic last year, but the National Mall has been teeming with tourists since Washington, D.C. has largely reopened for dining and other activities.

USPP is asking people with information about this incident to contact the tip line at (888) 361-3332, (202) 379-4877 or

Man arrested after Washington Monument crash
A visitor flies a kite near the Washington Monument on the National Mall on July 3, 2021 in Washington, DC. Hours later, a car reportedly crashed after erratically driving just outside the Monument, missing several people. ALEX EDELMAN/AFP/Getty Images