How tragic is this? On June 15th, 1966, President Johnson‘s beagle was accidentally run over by the White House limousine in the driveway of the mansion. Ugh, that’s terrible.
Here’s the report in the Washington Post the following day.
The dog, according to the President’s deputy press secretary, Robert H. Fleming, was chasing a squirrel, ran between the front and rear wheels of the car and was struck.
Lynda Bird Johnson, the President’s older daughter, ran into a meeting the President was having with the chairmen of House committees to tell him of the accident. She was in tears.
In addition to House chairmen, Secretary of State Dean Rusk and Secretary of Defense, Robert S. McNamara were with Mr. Johnson when he got the news from his daughter. The President was holding a briefing session with his visitors on the Vietnam and North Atlantic treaty problems.
The President was reported to have said to an aide: “We are having a sad time at the White House tonight.”
Newsmen first heard of the accident in Lincoln, Neb., where the President’s wife told reporters after being told herself by a Secret Service man. She said the news was the kind “that makes you feel like you have been hit in the stomach with a hard rock.”
Mr. Fleming said that the limousine chauffeur, believed to be an Army driver from the White House motor pool, was driving very slowly but a rear wheel crushed the dog, killing it instantly.
When the Johnsons came to the White House in 1963 they brought two beagles, Him and Her. Her died after swallowing a stone while playing on the White House lawn.
President Johnson played daily with Him, as he had with Him and Her. It was this pair that Mr. Johnson lifted to a standing position by their ears on April 27, 1964, stirring national criticism from dog fanciers who disapproved of this form of beagle handling.
Being a huge dog person myself, this one hurts. Imagine being the guy driving the limo, living with the fact that you ran over the President’s dog. That sucks.