Train carrying GOP members of Congress hits garbage truck, one dead


A chartered train carrying Republican lawmakers collided with a garbage truck in Virginia on Wednesday morning, killing one person, authorities said.

The train was carrying House and Senate Republicans to a retreat in West Virginia when the crash occurred. No members of Congress or their staff were injured, White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said in a statement.

Authorities didn’t immediately release the victim’s identity, but President Donald Trump said Wednesday afternoon that the driver of the truck had been killed. A spokesperson for the Congressional Institute, which sponsors the retreat, said the person who died and the person who was critically injured were both in the truck.

“We were on our way to West Virginia, and it was a sudden impact, a loud noise, and everyone was jolted,” Rep. Carlos Curbelo of Florida said on MSNBC.

Rep. Jason Lewis of Minnesota was taken to a hospital for a reported concussion, according to a senior leadership source on the train.

The University of Virginia Health System said Wednesday night that it had received six patients at UVA Medical Center. One was in critical condition, one was in good condition, three were still being evaluated and one was discharged, it said.

The National Transportation Safety Board said it was sending a team of investigators to the scene.

Amtrak said the crash happened at 11:20 a.m. in Crozet, Virginia, in Albemarle County near Charlottesville. By 1:15 p.m., the train had left Crozet and was heading back to Charlottesville.

Sen. Jeff Flake of Arizona described feeling a “big impact” during the crash and then making his way to help one of the injured. He had been traveling with his wife and 18-year-old son in one of the front cars.

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“I knew there were going to be bad injuries, so I worked my way back thinking they might need people to help carry people to ambulances, and they did,” he said.

Flake said that the front car of the train derailed and that the impact “smashed the truck pretty badly.” He said he saw that one person was killed, “who they worked on for quite a while while I was there and we were tending to the other injured person.”

Sen. Bill Cassidy of Louisiana and Rep. Brad Wenstrup of Ohio, both of whom are medical doctors, were among others who helped the injured, Flake said.

Image: Virginia train crash

Emergency personnel at the scene of a train crash in Crozet, Virginia, involving an Amtrak passenger train carrying dozens of Republican lawmakers on Wednesday.