Ohio man arrested in White House crash

Ex-Army medic who served in the Iraq war wanted to spray-paint the Revolutionary War-era "Don't Tread on Me" snake on the grounds.
MCT Regional News
Jun 12, 2013

A Kettering man crashed a Jeep into a security perimeter and then jumped the fence at the White House because he wanted to spray-paint the Revolutionary War-era "Don't Tread on Me" snake on the grounds, authorities said in court documents Tuesday.

The man, identified in federal court documents as Joseph Reel, 32, of Kettering was charged with destruction of government property after the incident in the predawn hours of Sunday.

Reel's wife, Rebekah Reel, told the Dayton Daily News Tuesday night she was shocked when U.S. Secret Service agents showed up at her apartment at 6 a.m. Sunday and confiscated her computer. It was the first Rebekah knew of where her husband was located since he left Thursday morning after they got in a fight the night before.

"It sounds nothing like my husband," said Rebekah, 26, who added Reel was an ex-Army medic who served in the Iraq war.

The Secret Service said Reel, who records show is a registered Republican who voted in the November general election, went to elaborate lengths in his quest to breach White House security so he could leave behind his political message, according to a CNN report.

Reel told officers that he conducted "surveillance" of the White House complex on Saturday "looking for a way in."

Sunday, about 3 a.m. he returned in a Jeep Patriot, according to the charges. He attached a wood block to the accelerator and set the vehicle on its way -- unoccupied -- ramming into a light post, a bicycle rack and a steel security bollard at 17th Street NW and Pennsylvania Avenue, which is the northwest corner of the White House complex, according to CNN.

A short time later, according to court records, Reel rode up on a bicycle and climbed over a fence at the north courtyard of the Old Executive Office Building, just west of the White House itself.

He was carrying a can of spray paint, which he dropped as he fled Secret Service agents, the court records allege.

The documents say Reel wasn't armed when he jumped the fence. But they say investigators found 200 rounds of ammunition, eight knives and two machetes in the Jeep, which caused about $1,000 in damage.

Reel will appear in court on Thursday.

Rebekah said Reel had never voiced animosity toward President Barack Obama.

"We never talked about things like that," she said.

Rebekah described her husband, who grew up in Franklin, as a quiet guy and said she did not know he left the state following their fight. He worked as a security guard at a local business.

She said she was worried about her husband "like any loving wife would be."

The couple, who has been married since September 2012, has a four-month-old son.

Asked if she was going to Washington, D.C. to visit Reel, Rebekah said, "Until we know what is going on, we don't plan on doing anything. I plan on staying here with my son."

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By Sharahn D. Boykin - Dayton Daily News, Ohio (MCT)

©2013 Dayton Daily News (Dayton, Ohio)

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