WHITE SULPHUR SPRINGS, W. Va ― A train carrying Republican members of Congress to a legislative retreat in West Virginia collided with a garbage truck Wednesday outside Charlottesville, Virginia.
One person traveling in the truck was pronounced dead and two more were seriously injured, according to lawmakers who treated the three men in the truck.
Albemarle County Police identified the deceased man as Christopher Foley, one of the truck passengers. Rep. Phil Roe (R-Tenn.), who’s also a doctor, said it was his opinion that Foley, 28, was killed instantaneously.
The University of Virginia Medical Center said it received a total of six patients from the crash, one of whom is in critical condition:
Some lawmakers’ family members were also on the train. According to an Amtrak spokesperson, two crew members and three passengers aboard the train suffered minor injuries.
Lawmakers present said that Rep. Chuck Fleischmann (R-Tenn.) suffered a minor injury when he fell over as a result of the impact. An aide for Rep. Jason Lewis (R-Minn.) said the lawmaker had been taken to the hospital and was being examined for a possible concussion.
Lewis downplayed his injury in a media statement, calling his transport to the hospital standard protocol.
“I’m fine compared to, tragically, the truck drivers, and thankful for the prompt action of our doctors and first responders,” Lewis said. “My thoughts are with the family of the individual who passed away.”
Emergency medical responders treated the scene as a hazmat situation, on account of the garbage truck’s load.
Lawmakers described a gruesome scene on Wednesday. Rep. Michael Burgess (R-Texas) who is also a doctor, had to switch out of a bloodied shirt after treating the men.
Rep. French Hill (R-Ark.) told Bloomberg passengers felt “a very sudden jolt” when the collision happened, but the train remained on the tracks and slowed to a stop.
“There’s a lighted crossing guard where the train crosses,” Hill said. “The guardrails were down but the train hit the garbage truck.”
“Today’s incident was a terrible tragedy,” House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) said in a statement. “We are grateful for the first responders who rushed to the scene and we pray for the victims and their families. May they all be in our thoughts right now.”
Republican leadership said the retreat will continue ― albeit with a security briefing first and a prayer for those involved in the incident.
President Donald Trump spoke to Ryan, who was aboard the train, via telephone.
This story has been updated with new information on the crash.