Amtrak carrying GOP members of Congress crashes in Crozet, one person dead

Six patients sent to U.Va. Medical Center

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Officials are continuing to investigate the incident. 

Chandler Collins | Cavalier Daily

An Amtrak train carrying Republican members of Congress and their staffs to a legislative retreat in West Virginia collided with a truck in Crozet Wednesday morning. One person is reported dead and six others were sent to the University’s Medical Center for treatment, with one in critical condition.

According to an Amtrak spokesperson, the train came into contact with a vehicle at a grade-crossing on the tracks at 11:20 a.m. The vehicle was a garbage disposal truck carrying three passengers.

The Albemarle County Police Department released a statement Wednesday evening identifying Christopher Foley, 28, as the individual who died due to injuries sustained during the accident. Foley was one of the passengers in the truck. The other passenger was airlifted to the University Medical Center and the driver was transported by grounds in serious condition, the statement said.

United States Capitol Police responded at the scene of the accident alongside local authorities. The National Transportation Safety Board has launched a full “Go-Team” to continue to investigate the accident.

“Over the next few days, our investigators will work on the scene to document the crash site and gather factual information,” NTSB representative Earl Weener said at a media briefing Wednesday night. “Our mission is to understand not only what happened, but why it happened and to make recommendations to prevent it from happening again.”

All members of Congress on the train — including Speaker of the House Paul Ryan — were unharmed, save for a few minor injuries. 

Ryan described the accident as a “terrible tragedy” in a tweet. He thanked first responders and expressed his condolences for those affected.

“We are grateful for the first responders who rushed to the scene and we pray for the victims and their families,” Ryan said in his tweet. “May they all be in our thoughts right now.”

The University Health system released a statement via Twitter confirming six patients were admitted. Of the six, one is in critical condition, one is in good condition, three are being evaluated and one was discharged, the statement said. 

The discharged patient was Rep. Jason Lewis (R-Minn.), who was treated for a concussion but continued on to the retreat upon release from the hospital.

“Rep. Lewis is grateful for the care of the clinical staff at UVA Medical Ctr in Charlottesville,” handlers of his Twitter account said. “He’s been discharged & traveled onto the GOP retreat, where he is recovering from a concussion.”

All other members of Congress and their staff who incurred no serious injuries continued on to their retreat at Greenbrier Resort in White Sulphur Springs, W.V.a. They will be joined later in the week by Vice President Mike Pence and President Donald Trump. The retreat is reported to continue as planned.

According to a media release from the NTSB, senior highway safety investigator Pete Kotowski has been appointed the investigator in charge of the case. The NTSB’s Office of Railroad, Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Investigations and the Office of Research and Engineering are also sending investigators, the statement said.

“We will not be determining the probable cause of the accident while on the scene nor will we speculate about the cause prior to the conclusion of the investigation,” Weener said. “We expect the on-scene phase of the investigation to last several days.”

This story has been updated with additional details about the incident. 

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