Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, a top contender for the Republican Party's 2024 presidential nomination, was in Tennessee on Tuesday for a handful of campaign-related events and fundraisers.
The governor's schedule was disrupted that morning when the small motorcade he was traveling in with staff was involved in a car accident on the way to Chattanooga, the Conservative Brief reported.
A spokesperson quickly made it clear, however, that DeSantis was not harmed in the incident and was able to continue with his planned campaign events following the slight delay.
Fox News reported that according to a spokesperson for the Chattanooga Police Department, the incident occurred around 8:15 am on Interstate 75 after the lead vehicle in Gov. DeSantis' four-vehicle motorcade was forced to slam on the breaks to avoid suddenly slow traffic in front of them, which resulted in a pile-up collision.
"This morning, the governor was in a car accident while traveling to an event in Chattanooga, Tennessee. He and his team are uninjured," DeSantis press secretary Brian Griffin told the outlet in a statement.
He added, "We appreciate the prayers and well wishes of the nation for his continued protection while on the campaign trail."
Though Griffin stated that the governor and his people were "uninjured," that is not entirely the case, as the spokesperson for the Chattanooga PD informed Fox News that a female staffer in the motorcade had suffered "minor injuries" that were treated on location at the subsequent campaign event and did not require further attention.
Local ABC affiliate WTVC reported that the four-car pileup involving the motorcade of Gov. DeSantis had been precipitated by an earlier accident further up the road on I-75 that caused traffic to slow down substantially.
That original incident is believed to have been caused by vehicles attempting to avoid hitting a dog that crossed the interstate, though that remains unconfirmed.
Regardless, the initial incident caused traffic to slow down and back up which led to the follow-on collision involving the governor's motorcade that CPD described as a "minor crash" that included a "minor injury" for one of the governor's staffers.
Indeed, the outlet noted that Gov. DeSantis was only temporarily waylaid by the incident and soon continued on his way to a fundraiser event in the neighborhood surrounding the Chattanooga Golf and Country Club.
An attendee at that event, Jacob Levy, told WTVC that DeSantis made only a brief mention of the car accident and otherwise appeared to be in "good spirits" as he laid out his plans for the nation if elected as the next president.
One would hope that all Americans would be concerned when a top contender for the White House is involved in a car accident, but a review of the reaction on Twitter to the incident showed plenty of disturbing examples of people initially expressing joy at the news of the accident followed by disappointment upon learning that Gov. DeSantis was unharmed.
Currently, the RealClearPolitics average of polls shows that DeSantis remains solidly in second place among the 2024 GOP field with 18 percent support -- though he has slipped significantly in the past few months -- and trails leading contender former President Donald Trump, with 53.1 percent support, by around 35 points.