Man drives onto National Mall, claims exposure to anthrax

(Courtesy: Mark Meredith/Media General)

WASHINGTON (AP) — A man who said he had been exposed to anthrax put some of the alleged poison into a pickup truck and drove onto the grass at the National Mall Tuesday to warn others, U.S. Park Police said. The substance was not hazardous.

The man told authorities that he saw a substance being spread on a field in Virginia, Park Police spokeswoman Sgt. Anna Rose said in a news release. The man, whom she did not identify, said he thought the substance was a threat to people and gathered some of it to warn others.

The man called U.S. Capitol Police to warn of the alleged exposure and said he had some of the substance in his truck.

The man drove onto the mall in front of the Capitol, near the reflecting pool.

Rose said the man got out of the truck and tested negative for anthrax. She said the police officers who were in contact with him went through decontamination.

Robots checked the truck, and Rose said police were still checking the vehicle.

Authorities closed several streets in the area, and emergency responders were told to suit up, but firefighters quickly determined there was no hazardous material, fire department spokesman Doug Buchanan said.

The man never threatened anyone and has been compliant throughout the incident, Rose said.

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