Train Carrying GOP Lawmakers to Retreat Hits Truck

Reports: At least one dead, others injured

Emergency personnel work at the scene of a train crash involving a garbage truck in Crozet, Va., on Wednesday. An Amtrak passenger train carrying dozens of GOP lawmakers to a Republican retreat in West Virginia struck a garbage truck south of Charlottesville, Va. No lawmakers were believed injured. (Zack Wajsgrasu/The Daily Progress via AP)

Updated 2:51 p.m. | A train transporting Republican lawmakers to the GOP retreat in West Virginia was involved in an accident with a truck late Wednesday morning.

Representatives were seen attending to injured people from the truck, according to a source on the train. At least one person was reported dead. 

“We are on our way to our annual GOP retreat, the train carrying members and spouses hit something. Laina and I are ok, I am helping those that are injured, I will have Laina keep you updated as I know more,” Kansas Rep. Roger Marshall said on Twitter.

Marshall and Reps. Larry Bucshon and Brad Wenstrup, all medical doctors, were seen caring for people injured in the accident, the source on the train said. Other members and family on the train were seen praying.

Rep. Tom Cole, speaking to CNN by phone, said he saw someone taken off the scene with a tarp over them.

“The first responders were really the member doctors who were demanding to get off the train,” the Oklahoma Republican told CNN.

Arizona Sen. Jeff Flake told a Washington Post reporter there were three passengers aboard the truck. Two were injured and one died, he said.

Tennessee Rep. Chuck Fleischmann told The Tennessean he suffered neck, back and foot injuries and was in shock after being thrown during the impact. He had been walking to the bathroom.

Minnesota Rep. Jason Lewis went to a hospital to be checked out, a GOP aide said, citing the impact of the collision and “standard concussion protocol.”

United States Capitol Police officers were dispatched to the scene of the accident, according to a source. “Congressional officials, including the United States Capitol Police, are on the scene and are working closely with partner law enforcement agencies in response to the incident,” the department later said in a statement.

President Donald Trump was meeting with senior national security officials when he was made aware of the crash, Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said. The president had communicated with House Speaker Paul D. Ryan and continued to receive updates, she said. The White House later confirmed the reported death.

Trump said his trip to the GOP retreat on Thursday is still on. “I’ll be going tomorrow,” he said. “They say it was tough.”

A dispatcher with the Albemarle County Police Department would say only that a derailment had occurred in the area, but would not provide any further details on injuries or the nature of the derailment.

“There was a train derailment, and we’re in the middle of working on it,” she said, declining to give her name.

Amtrak confirmed some details of the crash.

“An Amtrak train came into contact with a vehicle that was on the tracks at 11:20 a.m. in Crozet, Va. There are no reported injuries to passengers or crew members. Local law enforcement is investigating the incident and crews are inspecting equipment for damage. The train originated in Washington, D.C. Updates will be provided as new information becomes available,” Amtrak spokesperson Beth K. Toll said.

Crozet is located along the I-64 corridor, outside Charlottesville, Virginia. It is about a 1 hour and 45 minute drive from White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia, the site of the GOP retreat.

From the Amtrak station in Charlottesville, the regular passenger service takes a little more than three hours to get to White Sulphur Springs.

The GOP retreat was scheduled for Wednesday through Friday at the Greenbrier resort. In the early afternoon members were put back on the train, which headed back toward Charlottesville.

Watch: Why Does Congress ‘Retreat?’


Get breaking news alerts and more from Roll Call on your iPhone or your Android.