CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA -- An Amtrak train carrying Republican members of Congress, their families and staffers to a retreat in West Virginia crashed into a garbage truck, Wednesday. Oregon Congressman Greg Walden was on board with his wife.
Hours after the incident, Walden described the scene to KBND host Lars Larson, "I looked out the window and saw enormous amounts of bags of garbage strewn along a grassy area between the train tracks and a nearby local road. And, then you could see the twisted metal of the rear-end of the garbage truck separated from the cab and truck part of the truck, if you will."
He says the train came to an abrupt stop, "We had a couple members who got thrown into seats or tables and, just out of an abundance of caution, were taken to the hospital for observation for head and neck injuries; but, we were very, very lucky. All the cars except the front engine stayed on the track; and the front engine, unless you were close to it, you wouldn’t know it had derailed. It was still upright and connected." Following the crash, he says everyone pitched in to help, "We’ve got about a dozen, 10 or 12 members of Congress who are also physicians or have medical training; they immediately rushed for the doors and as soon as we could get them released and opened, they ran down to try and give life-saving first aid to the garbage truck guys." One person in the truck was killed and two others were seriously wounded. No lawmakers reported any serious injuries. "It shakes you up; it jars you. You realize the fragility of life. I mean, these guys were just doing their job and I don’t know what happened, but it didn’t end well."
The NTSB is now investigating. After the crash, lawmakers boarded buses and continued to their retreat in West Virginia.
Photo: Allison Wrabel/ The Daily Progress