Presidential Motorcade’s Roadrunner Ran Off The Road In Florida

One of the most fascinating vehicles in the Presidential Motorcade had a mishap over the weekend, crashing across a highway median in Florida.

byThomas Newdick|
Roadrunner crash Florida
Marco Congiu, US Correspondent for the Italian news channel SkyTg24


A video has emerged showing the immediate aftermath of a recent accident involving one of the Secret Service’s so-called Roadrunners — a heavily modified Ford F350 Super Duty variant that normally forms part of a U.S. presidential motorcade and which we have discussed on more than one occasion in the past. This newest version of the Roadrunner first emerged in 2018.

According to initial reports, the vehicle — which has a unique six-door design — crashed while traveling to Live Oak, Florida, on September 2. The Roadrunner was headed there ahead of a visit by President Joe Biden, who was surveying the destruction from Hurricane Idalia and meeting victims of the storm.

U.S. Highway 90, U.S. Highway 129, and Interstate 10 are all major highways running through Live Oak, although, at this time, the exact location of the incident hasn’t been confirmed.

The video of the accident, taken from a moving car, as well as an accompanying photo, were provided to The War Zone by Marco Congiu, a U.S. Correspondent for the Italian news channel SkyTg24. It shows the Secret Service vehicle having departed the road and come to a rest straddling the crash barrier running down the highway’s central reservation. At least one emergency vehicle and what appears to be another Secret Service vehicle were already on the scene at the point the imagery was taken.

It's not unheard of for vehicles that make up the Presidential Motorcade to have issues from time to time. Considering how modified some of them are, including the huge weight they carry, like any vehicle, they can run into issues occasionally (see videos below). You can read one Secret Service agent's account of such an incident here. Although an actual wreck, especially of a critical vehicle like the Roadrunner, certainly is rare.

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As for the Roadrunner, the unique truck is more formally known as the White House Communications Agency's communications, networking, and command vehicle, and has a normal crew of three. It's the latest of a long line of Roadrunners that have varied drastically in configuration. Tasked with closely following the presidential limousine, it provides a highly secure satellite communications gateway — as seen by its large mobile satcom antenna on top — and localized wifi-like capabilities. These systems allow the President to stay in touch with critical authorities at all times and other key parties in the motorcade can communicate and share data securely, as well. Ensuring the President has constant access to the National Command Authority is absolutely critical to ensuring the credibility of America's nuclear deterrent.

The Roadrunner is the most impressive part of the Presidential Motorcade aside from the 'Beast' limousines. (Photo by Artur Widak/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

Produced by The Armored Group, this latest edition of the Roadrunner has a comprehensive command station, including a large video screen and control center in the back. Reflecting the critical nature of its missions, the entire rear portion of the truck is actually sealed and hardened from external electronic emissions, as a sensitive compartmentalized information facility (SCIF). 

According to the Armored Group:

"The Mobile Communications Vehicle (MCV) is built on a Ford Super Duty truck platform modified to maximize payload with an overall appearance of a six-door sport utility vehicle with air ride suspension. The MCV includes a structurally reinforced five-slice antenna platform that incorporates an omnidirectional satellite mount.

The MCV was designed to protect and process all levels of communication data through a network of cable trays. The walls of the vehicle have seven layers of EMI shielding. The vehicle will be a Tempest Chamber Certified rolling SCIF which means off-the-shelf hardware can be installed in standard equipment racks. An extensive effort was made to integrate advanced RF, sound, and heat countermeasures including a 32,000 BTU HVAC system.

The MCV will have a 4G Air Worthiness Certification and can be deployed worldwide to mission areas via enclosed semi-trailers and cargo aircraft." top of all that, the Roadrunner is also notably well protected, with armor plating in critical areas that will stop a rifle round as well as protect against under-floor blasts. Other features include run-flat tires, enhanced braking, and upgraded suspension.

All those items will likely have proven very helpful to the crew who experienced an accident on the way to Live Oak last weekend.

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