Vice President Biden's motorcade has been involved in three accidents, one of them fatal, in the last three months -- but the Secret Service says it views the close string of collisions as "separate" and notes that Secret Service personnel were driving in only one of them.
The latest mishap occurred Sunday in Vancouver. Figure skating legend Peggy Fleming and former bobsled champion Vonetta Flowers, who were riding in the vice president's motorcade, suffered minor injuries when the van they were riding in apparently was rear-ended en route to a hockey game. Biden was in a different vehicle at the time.
A doctor traveling with Biden reportedly checked the victims, and they were sent to the hospital as a precaution. They were later released.
Biden spokesman Jay Carney, in a written statement, classified the incident as a "minor accident."
But it comes on top of a fatal accident on Nov. 11, when two Secret Service vehicles hit and killed a pedestrian on a Maryland parkway outside Washington.
A few days after that, a police car driving ahead of Biden's motorcade in New York City struck a cab at an intersection as the vice president traveled through Manhattan on his way to an appearance on "The Daily Show." The cab driver was checked out at a hospital and released.
Secret Service spokesman Ed Donovan said the agency views the incidents as "separate," and he pointed out that Secret Service personnel were driving only in the Nov. 11 accident. New York police were driving in the Manhattan crash and Royal Canadian Mounted Police were driving in the Vancouver collision.
"They were driving all the cars," Donovan said of the Canadian police in Biden's Vancouver motorcade.
Donovan would not comment on how drivers are selected and rotated through motorcade assignments.
"We don't talk about those kinds of things," he said.
Another vehicle connected to Biden's motorcade, though not driving ahead of or in it, was involved in an accident in November in Albuquerque, N.M. In that crash, a sheriff's deputy whose car was parked by police vehicles blocking an intersection was injured after a woman drove around the blockade and hit the car.