An Amtrak train with a GOP mission aboard heading to a rural retreat center from Washington, D.C., struck a garbage truck on the crossing grade in Crozet, Va., on Wednesday. Republican members of both the House and Senate were included as passengers.
GOP lawmakers were traveling to The Greenbrier resort in White Sulpher Springs, W.Va., for an annual three-day meeting dubbed the 2018 House and Senate Republican Member Conference.
Of the six transported to the University of Virginia Medical Center, four were released Thursday. Of the two remaining, one is in fair condition; the sixth remains in critical condition. No serious injuries were reported among train passengers.
Called to the scene, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) stated it is treating the incident as an accident, but refused to speculate on the cause of the crash. The NTSB said an investigation is underway.
“Over the next few days our investigators will work on the scene to document the crash site and gather factual information. Our mission is to understand not only what happened, but why it happened and to make recommendations to prevent it from happening again,” said Earl Weener, spokesman for the NTSB.
Weener declined to take questions from reporters.
Authorities and Amtrack believe the train came into contact with a truck operated by Time Disposal Trash at approximately 11:20 a.m. local time. In a brief statement released by the Albemarle County Police Department, officials revealed Christopher Foley, a waste firm employee, died at the scene. No further details were released by Amtrack or police.
Among the GOP delegation were several physicians, including Sens. Bill Cassidy (La.), Brad Wenstrup (Ohio) and Mike Burgess (Texas), all of whom assisted emergency paramedics and police in the aftermath of the crash.
House Speaker Paul Ryan of Wisconsin was also passenger on the train.
Despite no serious injuries reported among train passengers, an aide to Speaker Ryan was taken to the hospital along with Rep. Jason Lewis (Minn.) and Chuck Fleischmann (Tenn.).
Following the crash, lawmakers proceeded to the retreat in shuttle buses. President Trump joined the meeting Thursday and made over a half hour’s worth of remarks.
The NTSB investigation is expected to take one year to complete.
[NBC News] [Cavalier Daily] [Politico] [Photo courtesy ABC News]