WASHINGTON - The "Truckers To Shut Down America" rolling protest around the Capital Beltway in Washington D.C. fizzled Friday.
Instead of 10,000 trucks tying up rush-hour traffic as organizers had forecast, only about 30 trucks bearing the official Twitter hashtag of the ride -- #T2SDA -- which stands for "Truckers to Shut Down America" were spotted, according to Corinne N. Geller, spokesperson for the Virginia Department of Transportation. Various local media reported similar numbers.
Beltway traffic was slow on Friday, but transportation officials said it was due to steady rain and the heavy volume of normal traffic.
Virginia State Police said at one point, four big rigs slowed traffic to 15 mph by driving side-by-side on our four lanes of northbound Interstate 495 in Virginia. The drivers were pulled over by State Police and warned not to impeded traffic.
"No summons/ticket was issued," police said in a statement. "The tractor-trailers were then allowed to proceed on their way."
The "Ride for the Constitution" protest was aimed at seeking to impeach President Obama and pressure Congress.
A photo that shows big rig traffic on a two-lane stretch of interstate purported to be from the protest was circulated on Twitter and Facebook Friday, drawing additional comments of support. An investigation showed the image was actually taken in May during a Make-A-Wish truck convoy in Lancaster, Pa. Another photo circulating on Twitter, showing a huge trucker traffic jam under the hashtag #T2SDA, was actually of a traffic jam in Italy. In both photos, the weather was clear instead of raining. Other photos purporting to show the DC truckers were taken from a Make-A-Wish trucker's rally in Pennsylvania last May.
A transportation official said on any weekday, the Capital Beltway carries 250,000 to 300,000 vehicles and about 10 percent of those are big rigs conducting normal business.
The official spokesman for the trucker's ride is Pete Santilli, an Internet broadcaster and conspiracy theorist, according to USA Today. The newspaper reported that he gained some notoriety in May when he said on the Guerilla Media Network that "we need to try, convict and shoot Hillary Clinton in the vagina" for what he claims was the "fake hunt down" of Osama bin Laden during which all the Navy SEALs involved allegedly were killed.
WJLA Report from Friday: