Louisa County man killed in crash of GOP train near Crozet

Photo: Laura Perrot of Newsplex
Photo: Laura Perrot of Newsplex(WHSV)
Published: Jan. 31, 2018 at 11:51 AM EST
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

UPDATE (Feb. 1):

The Albemarle County Police Department confirms 28-year-old Christopher Foley, of Louisa County, was killed when a specially chartered Amtrak carrying members of Congress to a GOP retreat in West Virginia crashed into a garbage truck just outside of Crozet.

Foley was one of two passengers in the garbage truck.

The other passenger was airlifted to the University of Virginia Medical Center with critical injuries, while the driver of the truck was taken by ground in serious condition.

In addition, two Amtrak crew members and two passengers of the train, including Minnesota Rep. Jason Lewis, who suffered a concussion, were taken to the hospital with minor injuries.

As of 11 a.m. on Thursday, four of the people taken to UVA Medical Center had been discharged, the other passenger of the truck remained in critical condition, and the truck driver had improved to fair condition.

The Albemarle County Crash Reconstruction Team is working with the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) to investigate the crash.

The NTSB told media on Wednesday evening that they will be on scene for several days.

_____

ORIGINAL STORY (Jan. 31):

One person is dead and at least two seriously injured after an Amtrak train carrying dozens of members of Congress to a GOP policy retreat at The Greenbrier in West Virginia crashed into a garbage truck just west of Crozet on Wednesday morning.

The train was a specially chartered Amtrak train that left Union Station around 8:30 a.m. and, at 11:20 a.m., collided with garbage truck just west of Crozet, near Marymart Farm Road and Lanetown Road.

The truck was torn in half and the nose of the locomotive crumpled in the collision, which occurred at a crossing with fully-equipped warning signals.

No serious injuries were reported by Amtrak among the passengers of the train.

White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders confirmed to media that one person did die in the collision, however, and one was seriously injured.. Those on scene say the single fatality was one of the drivers of the truck that was hit.

According to Albemarle County's spokeswoman, there are three serious injuries, all related to passengers of the truck.

The UVA Medical Center told WHSV six patients were transported, with one in critical condition and one discharged by 4:30 p.m. Again, no passengers of the train were reported to be seriously injured, though.

Amtrak, on the other hand, released a statement in the afternoon saying that two crew members and three passengers were taken to the hospital with minor injuries.

There were somewhere between 200 and 250 people on board at the time of the crash.

The Albemarle County Police Department and Virginia Department of Emergency Management were on the scene soon afterward, with the NTSB arriving later in the afternoon to investigate the cause of the crash.

A GOP aide said the train partially derailed and representatives described suddenly being thrown from their seats during a fairly normal trip through a small town. Many of the members of Congress were travelling with their spouses and staff.

Rep. Bob Goodlatte's staff told WHSV that he was not on the train. The only local lawmaker who was on board was Rep. Alex Mooney, of West Virginia, who said he is in good condition.

House Speaker Paul Ryan told ABC News that he was on board the train as well and is okay.

"Our thoughts and prayers are with everyone that has been affected by this incident," said Sanders.

Here's a look at everyone who was on the train (list of members will be updated):

• House Speaker Paul Ryan

• Rep. Alex Mooney, R-West Virginia

• Rep. French Hilll, R-Arkansas

• Rep. Dan Newhouse, R-Washington

• Rep. John Ratcliffe, R-Texas

• Rep. John Moolenaar‏, R-Michigan

• Rep. Rick Allen, R-Georgia

• Rep. Susan Brooks, R-Indiana

• Rep. Ron Estes, R-Kansas

• Rep. Steve Womack‏, R-Arkansas

• Sen. Mike Rounds, R-South Dakota

• Rep. Keith Rothfus, R-Pennsylvania

• Rep. Alex Mooney, R-West Virginia

• Rep. Martha McSally, R-Arizona

• Rep. Don Bacon, R-Nebraska

• Rep. Pete Sessions, R-Texas

• Sen. Pat Roberts, R-Kansas

• Rep. Steve Daines, R-Montana

• ‏Rep. Drew Ferguson, R-Georgia

• Sen. James Lankford, R-Oklahoma

• Rep. Carlos Curbelo, R-Florida

• Rep. Mark Walker, R-North Carolina

• Rep. Vicky Hartzler, R-Missouri

• Rep. Roger Marshall, R-Kansas

• Sen. Bill Cassidy, R-Louisiana

• Rep. Ed Royce, R-California

• Rep. Jeff Fortenberry, R-Nebraska

• Rep. Bradley Byrne, R-Alabama

• Rep. Greg Walden, R-Oregon

• Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Arizona

• Sen. Joni Ernst, R-Iowa

• Rep. Tom Cole, R-Oklahoma

• Rep. Michael Burgess, R-Texas

• Rep. Chuck Fleischmann, R-Tennessee

• Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio

• Rep. Jason Lewis, R-Minnesota

"I looked out the side of the window and then I could see a truck, just in pieces out the side of the window," said Rep. James Comer, R-Ky. "It was a garbage truck that was apparently, I would assume, trying to cross the tracks."

Another lawmaker, Rep. Kevin Cramer, R-N.D., was conducting a live interview with a local radio station when the accident occurred.

"Oh, Jesus, Sorry about that, we hit a bump here," he told AM 1100 The Flag, a station in Fargo, North Dakota. Later, he described the truck's wreckage and said, "Valuable lesson, people. Do not challenge a train at a crossing."

Authorities have not detailed the sequence of events, though. The NTSB is on the way to investigate.

Florida Rep. Neal Dunn, a former Army surgeon, said he and other lawmakers who are doctors joined other passengers who are nurses or paramedics and jumped out with the basic medical gear they had. They broke into three teams to help the injured people in the truck, he said.

"The first gentleman was somebody who had really, really, really devastating injuries. We did try to resuscitate, but ultimately you had to realize it wasn't possible," Dunn said. He said another man in the truck was critically injured and a third was seriously hurt.

Other doctor-lawmakers who assisted included Reps. Michael Burgess, of Texas, Phil Roe of Tennessee, Larry Bucshon of Indiana and Roger Marshall of Kansas, and Sen. Bill Cassidy of Louisiana, according to those aboard.

The retreat at The Greenbrier was scheduled to have appearances by President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence. By early afternoon, lawmakers were boarding buses to resume their trip and Pence was still planning to address them later Wednesday.

This is a developing story. Stay with WHSV for updates.

_____

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

 Garrett Statement on Train Collision Near Crozet, Virginia 

WASHINGTON, D.C. (Jan 31, 2018)—Congressman Tom Garrett (R-VA) issued the following statement upon learning of today’s train collision in Crozet, Virginia from the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C.: 

"My colleagues and my friends were on the train, and it is very likely that or more Fifth District residents were injured during today’s collision. So I would ask that all take a moment today to think about everyone on the train, and keep them in your hearts, thoughts and prayers”
“Many of my colleagues were en route to the GOP Retreat when the train carrying them was involved in a collision in Abermarle County." 

"While we monitor the situation from our office in Washington, our thoughts and prayers are with the victims and our first responders and law enforcement professionals who, as always, are doing their jobs and working to save lives."
NOTE: Congressman Garrett was not on the train at the time of the collision. He learned of the incident from his offices in Washington, D.C. 
###
 
REP. JENKINS STATEMENT ON TRAIN ACCIDENT
 
WASHINGTON – U.S. Representative Evan Jenkins (R-W.Va.) issued the following statement on the accident involving the train carrying members of Congress to the GOP policy conference in White Sulphur Springs:
 
“I am deeply sorry to hear that a life has been lost in the train accident Wednesday. My prayers are with that individual’s family, as well as those who were injured in this tragic accident. I was not a passenger on the train, as I had flown back to Charleston that morning to speak at the West Virginia Coal Symposium and then join Vice President Pence at an event. As we move forward with scheduled events, our hearts are heavy and our thoughts and prayers remain with those affected.”