STREAMING NOW: Watch Now

GOP lawmakers put medical skills to work after train crash

Republican members of Congress with medical experience put their skills to work after a train carrying dozens of them crashed into a garbage truck in rural Virginia, killing one person in the truck and injuring others.

Posted: Feb 1, 2018 7:24 AM

CROZET, Va. (AP) — Republican members of Congress with medical experience put their skills to work after a train carrying dozens of them crashed into a garbage truck in rural Virginia, killing one person in the truck and injuring others.

The congressmen were on their way to a strategy retreat in the countryside when the collision occurred around 11:20 a.m. Wednesday in Crozet, about 125 miles (200 kilometers) southwest of Washington.

No serious injuries were reported aboard the chartered Amtrak train, which set out from the nation’s capital with lawmakers, family members and staff for the luxury Greenbrier resort in White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia. At least two other people in the truck were reported seriously hurt.

Rep. James Comer of Kentucky said about 100 Republican lawmakers were on the train when the crash 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. He said Capitol police officers quickly jumped off the train but came back and asked for any doctors to help.

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.

A train carrying dozens of GOP lawmakers to a retreat in West Virginia struck a garbage truck on Wednesday. No lawmakers were reported to be injured, but the White House said one person was killed and another was seriously injured. (Jan. 31)

“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.

The Albemarle County Police Department identified the passenger killed as Christopher Foley, 28, of Louisa County.

Dunn said another man in the truck was critically injured and a third was seriously hurt.

Sen. Bill Cassidy of Louisiana and his wife, both doctors, were among those who came to the rescue. He said he helped a man from the truck who was badly injured.

“My role was quite simple: I picked up his feet so the blood in his feet would go to his heart and his brain,” Cassidy said.

Sen. Jeff Flake of Arizona said seeing the lawmakers tending to the injured reminded him of the shooting of Rep. Steve Scalise at a GOP baseball practice last June.

“I thought then I never want to experience a day like this again,” Flake said. “Unfortunately, it came too soon.”

Authorities gave no details on the cause of the wreck, which took place at a crossing protected by gates, flashing lights, bells and warning signs. The National Transportation Safety Board sent a team to investigate and would spend several days at the site, spokesman Earl Weener said Wednesday night.

Benny Layne, on whose property the truck landed, said the crossing arms had been known to malfunction, sometimes coming down even though no train was approaching. Sometimes, he said, they stayed down for hours.

He said motorists would get out of their cars to help guide other motorists around the malfunctioning arms so they could cross the tracks.

“A guy was up here just yesterday or the day before taking a look at them,” he said.

Carrie Brown, human resources manager at Buckingham Branch Railroad, which leases the stretch of track and is responsible for maintenance, said she was unaware of any problems with equipment at the crossing. At a Wednesday night news conference, Weener said signal experts would be looking at the safety of the crossing.

Officials gave varying figures on the number hurt. But Amtrak said two crew members and three passengers were taken to a hospital with minor injuries.

Minnesota Rep. Jason Lewis’ staff tweeted that the first-term congressman was among those taken to the hospital and was later discharged after suffering a concussion. Others aboard the train reported bumps, bruises and sore joints.

The GOP policy retreat, an annual event, was scheduled to last three days and feature speeches from President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence. By early afternoon, lawmakers were boarding buses to resume their trip.

Later Wednesday, Pence told Republicans at the party retreat that he knows “it’s been a harrowing day for all of you.” Pence, a former House member, said he has fond memories of the retreat and the train rides back and forth. “Just know our hearts are with you,” he said.

Pence was the featured speaker Wednesday night at the GOP retreat. Trump was to address lawmakers Thursday.

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

House Speaker Paul Ryan of Wisconsin was on the train and was unhurt, aides said.

___

Fram reported from Washington. AP reporters Denise Lavoie and Sarah Rankin in Richmond, Virginia; Adam Beam in Frankfort, Kentucky; Terry Spencer in Fort Lauderdale, Florida; Melinda Deslatte in Baton Rouge, Louisiana; Martha Waggoner in Raleigh, North Carolina; and Andrew Taylor in Washington contributed to this report.

___

This story has been corrected to show that a congressman incorrectly identified the person who died in the crash. A passenger was killed, not the driver.

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

(Widget updates once daily at 8 p.m. ET)

Confirmed Cases: 32437

Reported Deaths: 2030
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Marion9371546
Lake3347170
Cass15867
Allen135366
St. Joseph121834
Hendricks113567
Hamilton112391
Johnson1092104
Elkhart107028
Madison58259
Porter49521
Bartholomew48634
Clark47141
LaPorte41523
Tippecanoe3803
Howard37620
Jackson3681
Delaware35936
Hancock32327
Shelby32121
Floyd31539
Boone29335
Morgan27024
Vanderburgh2532
Montgomery23317
White2288
Decatur22431
Clinton2221
Grant19521
Noble19221
Harrison18821
Dubois1852
Henry1709
Greene16824
Warrick16528
Dearborn16421
Monroe16211
Vigo1507
Lawrence14623
Miami1391
Putnam1347
Jennings1284
Orange12422
Scott1183
Ripley1136
Franklin1068
Kosciusko971
Carroll932
Daviess8416
Marshall801
Steuben802
Wayne755
Newton7410
Wabash732
Fayette714
Jasper621
LaGrange622
Washington521
Fulton471
Jay460
Randolph453
Rush452
Jefferson421
Whitley412
Clay411
Pulaski400
Owen341
Sullivan331
DeKalb331
Brown331
Starke313
Perry260
Wells260
Huntington262
Knox250
Benton250
Tipton241
Crawford230
Blackford202
Switzerland190
Fountain182
Parke180
Spencer171
Posey160
Gibson142
Ohio130
Warren121
Adams121
Vermillion100
Martin90
Union80
Pike60
Unassigned0159

Illinois Coronavirus Cases

(Widget updates once daily at 7 p.m. CT)

Confirmed Cases: 114306

Reported Deaths: 5083
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Cook745213455
Lake7845270
DuPage7350347
Kane5947162
Will5279264
Winnebago200152
McHenry147569
St. Clair103573
Kankakee80843
Kendall73619
Rock Island63823
Champaign5807
Madison54457
Boone41016
Sangamon33727
DeKalb3343
Randolph2644
Jackson24210
McLean21513
Out of IL2051
Stephenson1942
Ogle1932
Macon18919
Peoria1888
Clinton17817
Union1437
LaSalle14013
Whiteside13410
Iroquois1314
Coles11912
Warren1130
Unassigned1100
Jefferson10116
Knox940
Monroe9311
Grundy882
McDonough837
Lee761
Tazewell693
Cass680
Henry670
Williamson572
Marion500
Jasper457
Adams441
Macoupin431
Perry410
Pulaski410
Montgomery391
Vermilion371
Morgan341
Christian334
Jo Daviess310
Livingston312
Douglas260
Fayette203
Ford201
Jersey201
Washington180
Woodford182
Mason170
Menard170
Mercer160
Shelby161
Bureau151
Hancock150
Carroll142
Franklin120
Piatt120
Schuyler120
Crawford110
Fulton110
Bond101
Brown100
Clark100
Cumberland100
Logan100
Moultrie100
Wayne91
Alexander80
Henderson80
Johnson70
Massac70
Saline70
Effingham61
Greene50
Marshall50
De Witt40
Lawrence40
Richland30
Stark30
Clay20
Edwards20
Gallatin20
Hamilton20
Wabash20
White20
Calhoun10
Hardin10
Pike10
Pope10
Putnam10
Edgar00
Terre Haute
Scattered Clouds
70° wxIcon
Hi: 82° Lo: 64°
Feels Like: 70°
Robinson
Clear
74° wxIcon
Hi: 80° Lo: 63°
Feels Like: 74°
Indianapolis
Broken Clouds
80° wxIcon
Hi: 79° Lo: 64°
Feels Like: 81°
Rockville
Overcast
67° wxIcon
Hi: 80° Lo: 63°
Feels Like: 67°
Casey
Clear
74° wxIcon
Hi: 80° Lo: 63°
Feels Like: 74°
Brazil
Scattered Clouds
70° wxIcon
Hi: 80° Lo: 63°
Feels Like: 70°
Marshall
Scattered Clouds
70° wxIcon
Hi: 82° Lo: 63°
Feels Like: 70°
Scattered Rain Today
WTHI Planner
WTHI Temps
WTHI Radar

WTHI Events