A deadly Amtrak train crash occurred this morning in Crozet, Virginia, about 15 miles west of Charlottesville when it struck a large trash truck that was straddling the tracks. It appears that the train did not brake upon impact with the truck and was traveling at a speed of approximately 50 miles per hours. The impact severed the truck in half and caused the front of the train to fly off the tracks.
One person in the truck, whose identity has not yet been released, was killed and at least 5 others were injured. According to an Amtrak statement, 2 of its crewmembers and 3 passengers were among those that were injured. However, the University of Virginia Health System said 6 patients were transported to UVA Medical Center. One patient is in critical condition, one in good condition, and one was released, while 3 were still under evaluation.
Rep. Jason Lewis, R-Minn. was transported to a hospital and released after being evaluated for a concussion, according to an aide in his office.
Some members of Congress and their spouses who are doctors assisted in the rescue efforts. There were up to 10 medically-trained lawmakers headed to the conference. The train doors were locked, but another congressman who was an Army Ranger “knew how to unlock the door and he got us out.”
National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) investigators at the scene Wednesday night said they expect to recover two data recorders from the train. Board Member Earl Weener confirmed the NTSB was treating the incident as an “accident,” responding to reporter questions about whether it could have been an intentional act targeting GOP lawmakers. “If we find anything that indicates that this was intentional, we will turn that over to the FBI,” he said.