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One fatality, Pa. congressman uninjured in train crash

Written by Alan Fram and Andrew Taylor/Associated Press and Rachel McDevitt/WITF | Jan 31, 2018 12:30 PM
Scott_perry2.jpg

U.S. Congressman Scott Perry (Photo: File)

(Washington) -- A chartered train carrying dozens of GOP lawmakers--including at leat one from Pennsylvania--to a Republican policy retreat in West Virginia struck a garbage truck in a rural Virginia town on Wednesday. No lawmakers or aides were reported injured, but the White House said one person was killed and another was seriously injured.

Lawmakers said the fatality appeared to be someone who was in the truck. One lawmaker who was aboard the train, Rep. Tom Cole, R-Okla., said the vehicle had been ripped in half and said he saw a person wrapped in tarp and said emergency workers appeared to be "putting a body away."

Amtrak spokeswoman Kimberly Woods says there were no reported injuries to passengers or crew members after the incident, which happened around 11:20 a.m. in Crozet, Virginia. Crozet is about 15 miles west of Charlottesville.

Congressman Scott Perry's office says he was on the train, but is fine and is praying for the truck driver's family. Perry's district includes Adams and York counties, as well as parts of Dauphin and Cumberland counties

Cole said he felt "a tremendous jolt" when the accident occurred at about 11:15 a.m. EST, nearly two hours after it left Washington headed to the Greenbrier resort in White Sulphur Springs, W.Va. The policy retreat, an annual event, is scheduled to last three days and feature speeches from President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence.

Cole said the train stopped quickly after impact. He said several GOP lawmakers who are doctors got off the train to assist, including Rep. Brad Wenstrup, R-Ohio, who was also at last June's shooting of Republicans at a baseball practice in nearby Alexandria, Virginia, and treated some of the victims.

Other doctor-lawmakers who helped included Reps. Michael Burgess, of Texas, Phil Roe of Tennessee, Larry Bucshon of Indiana, Roger Marshall of Kansas and Sen. Bill Cassidy, R-La.

Cassidy later tweeted that there were three people on the truck and "one is dead."

House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., was on the train and was unhurt, aides said.

White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders said President Donald Trump was briefed on the accident.

"There is one confirmed fatality and one serious injury," but no injuries to lawmakers or their staffs, she said.

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

Rep. James Comer, R-Ky., said about 100 Republican lawmakers were on the train when the crash occurred, which made him jump out of his seat.

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

Comer said Capitol Police quickly jumped off the train, but came back and asked for any doctors to help. Comer said U.S. Reps. and Brad Wenstrup -- all medical doctors -- rushed to help, including performing CPR on one person.

A GOP aide said the train seemed partially derailed.

It was not clear when lawmakers would resume their trip to their retreat.

Midstate congressmen have been tweeting they are safe, and keeping the victims in their prayers:

___
AP reporter Adam Beam in Frankfort, Kentucky, contributed.

An earlier story appears below. 

(Washington) -- A chartered train carrying dozens of GOP lawmakers--including at least one from the midstate--to a Republican retreat in West Virginia struck a garbage truck south of Charlottesville, Virginia, on Wednesday. No lawmakers were believed injured, but it at least one person in the truck was said to be seriously injured.

Congressman Scott Perry's office says he was on the train, but is fine and is praying for the truck driver's family. Perry's district includes Adams and York counties, as well as parts of Dauphin and Cumberland counties

"We're fine, but our train hit a garbage truck. Members with medical training are assisting the drivers of the truck," Rep. Greg Walden, R-Ore., wrote on Twitter.

A GOP aide said the train is partially derailed.

Oklahoma GOP Rep. Tom Cole says a person on the truck may have been seriously injured.

Cole said he's not aware of any injuries on the train. A GOP aide speaking on condition of anonymity says no lawmakers were injured.

Cole said he believes the accident occurred south of Charlottesville, Virginia. The train was en route to the Greenbrier resort in White Sulfur Springs for a three-day issues retreat featuring appearances by President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence.

Rep. Bradley Byrne, R-Ala., tweeted: "The train carrying GOP members to our retreat had a collision, but Rebecca and I are both okay. Security and doctors on board are helping secure the scene and treat injuries."

Cole said he felt "a tremendous jolt" when the accident occurred at about 11:15 a.m. EST, nearly two hours after it left Washington headed to the Greenbrier resort in White Sulphur Springs, W.Va.

He said the train stopped quickly after impact. He said several GOP lawmakers who are doctors got off the train to assist, including Rep. Brad Wenstrup, R-Ohio, who was also at last June's shooting of Republicans at a baseball practice in nearby Alexandria, Virginia, and treated some of the victims.

Other doctor-lawmakers who helped included Reps. Michael Burgess, R-Texas, Phil Roe, R-Tenn., and Sen. Bill Cassidy, R-La.

Cole said the front of the train hit a vehicle that appeared to be a trash truck, which he said was torn in half. He said the accident apparently occurred at or near a crossing because he could see railroad crossing gates.

He said lawmakers had not been told when they would resume their trip to their retreat.

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