Palm Beach Sheriff Ric Bradshaw addresses reporters following chase near Mar-a-Lago 1/31/20
It didn’t quite get the attention yesterday one might expect, but yesterday was an extraordinarily busy news day and, more importantly, it wasn’t quite the ominous story it initially appeared to be. An SUV crashed through the gates at Mar-a-Lago, late yesterday morning. Shots were fired by the Secret Service and, ultimately, the driver was taken into custody.
What became clear fairly quickly is that this was not a terrorist type thing — nor did it appear that Mar-a-Lago was intentionally targeted by the SUV driver. Rather, the driver — a 30-year-old opera singer from Connecticut — apparently was under the influence/impaired.
But the story is a little more involved than that, as reported by the Miami Herald:
The incident began at 11:38 a.m. when [Hannah] Roemhild was spotted dancing on her black SUV at the Breakers resort and hotel, [Palm Beach Sheriff Ric] Bradshaw said. Security called an off-duty Florida Highway Patrol trooper, but Roemhild got in her vehicle. The officer tapped on her window. When it appeared Roemhild was preparing to reverse away, the officer broke the window. He then pursued Roemhild, who was said to be driving south erratically and at high speeds, but lost her in traffic.
Roemhild then approached Mar-a-Lago, about three miles south of the Breakers, driving the SUV through a staffed security barricade on a public road outside the club. Then she crashed through a second staffed checkpoint.
“The deputies and Secret Service agents that were there got out of the way just in time,” Bradshaw said.
As she continued toward the club’s main entrance, Secret Service agents and PBSO deputies opened fire, said Brian Swain, the Secret Service’s special agent in charge for Miami. Her vehicle was hit several times.
Somehow, Roemhild managed to get away, driving her vehicle over the Southern Boulevard bridge and into West Palm Beach. Authorities lost her, although PBSO scrambled a helicopter into the air. During that time, Roemhild picked up another woman, believed to be a relative, Bradshaw said, before she was located and arrested.
So, to review, at 11:38 am, a 30-year-old opera singer from Connecticut was dancing on her SUV at the Breakers, was approached by a police officer, drove off with her driver’s side window busted out, weaved through traffic erratically and at high speed, busted through not one, but two, barricades at the entrance to the President’s private club and home, got shot at, sped away, picked up a female relative…and then was tackled and apprehended.
When you watch the entire press conference (see video below), the Sheriff and other law enforcement officials who spoke emphasized that Ms. Roemhild’s vehicle reached speeds up to 70 mph and, at one point, was driving on the wrong side of the road. When questioned as to what circumstances might justify the officers discharging their weapons (per the State Trooper who spoke, it appears that no Troopers did, only Secret Service), the Sheriff had this to say:
There’s a lot more to be discovered here, as far as why she did what she did, whether she was impaired or not. I mean, the Trooper did the right thing — this woman’s driving on the wrong side of the road at 70-plus miles an hour, with people all over the place. Not to mention the fact she assaulted a federal officer with a deadly weapon — which, the vehicle’s a deadly weapon, folks, there was seven police officers killed last year with vehicles, feloniously, alright? And how many people have been killed in crowds with vehicles with terrorists driving in there? Not to mention the fact — we don’t know what’s going on until we get that vehicle. It could have been loaded with explosives, alright? So, I heard a question over here, “At what point are we gonna fire?” We’re gonna fire when our lives are in danger, and the danger of the public. And that’s exactly what happened.
When questioned as to whether it appeared that the driver was intending to go to Mar-a-Lago, the Sheriff observed, “No. There’s no intention…it’s a road that leads nowhere else but to Mar-a-Lago. I’m not so sure she knew where she was going.”
Thankfully, no one was hurt in this incident.
And, given that neither the President nor his family members were present on the property at the time, the story quickly faded from the national spotlight. (Apparently impaired, erratically driving opera singer lady takes back seat to Impeachment Theatre and CoronaPlague — and let’s not forget, this is Super Bowl Weekend, fer criminy!) I do hope Ms. Roemhild is able to clear things up when interviewed — and has the name of a good lawyer.
On a completely unrelated note, is it me? Or does Special Agent George Piro (FBI) look like he was hustled in from a Bond movie set?