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One Is Dead & Six Are Injured After a Train Carrying Republicans to a Policy Retreat Crashed Into a Truck

One person was killed and six were injured on Wednesday when an Amtrak train driving dozens of Republican members of Congress to a party conference hit a truck in Crozet, Virginia, The Washington Post reports. The fatal victim was one of three men in the garbage truck that was in the middle of the railroad crossing at the time of the crash. 

None of the Congress members onboard were seriously injured, and family members and aides accompanying them were also safe. Heading to its annual policy retreat at West Virginia’s Greenbrier resort, the group was estimated to contain more than half of the Republicans in the House and Senate, including Speaker Paul Ryan. The New York Times reports that Minnesota Rep. Jason Lewis went to a hospital with minor injuries, while the other two men in the men, two crew members and three passengers were also hospitalized. A spokesman for Lewis later confirmed that he was treated and released after receiving a concussion in the crash.

The collision occurred around 11:20 a.m. at a rural railroad crossing. The train reportedly made an abrupt stop and most Republicans “hit a knee or a head on the seat in front of us,” according to Utah Sen. Mike Lee. 

Several passengers with medical backgrounds stepped off the train after the incident to help the men in the truck. Brian Monahan, the attending physician to Congress, helped the two injured men, while House chaplain Rev. Patrick J. Conroy administered last rites to the man who passed in the crash. 

The National Transportation Safety Board sent a team of nearly two dozen people to the railroad crossing. The train’s leading car was left at the scene while the remaining cars drove back to their origin point at Charlottesville Union Station. The group later traveled to Greenbrier on buses.

BuzzFeed News reports that President Donald Trump spoke to reporters at the White House about the crash after speaking with Ryan and other Republicans onboard. “We don’t have a full understanding yet as to what happened, but it was a train hitting a truck, going at a pretty good speed and we’ll have a full reporter,” he said. “A few of the folks said it was tough.”

The Republicans’ retreat will continue with a modified program.  

Kristen Perrone is a Siena College Class of 2018 alumna. She studied English during her time at Siena.