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Train carrying GOP lawmakers, including Bost, hits truck; 1 killed

 
By ALAN FRAM and ANDREW TAYLOR
Associated Press
updated: 1/31/2018 12:15 PM

A chartered train carrying dozens of GOP lawmakers, including Rep. Mike Bost, to a Republican policy retreat in West Virginia struck a garbage truck in a rural Virginia town Wednesday. No lawmakers or aides were reported injured, but the White House said one person was killed and another was seriously injured.

Lawmakers said the fatality appeared to be someone who was in the truck. One lawmaker who was aboard the train, Rep. Tom Cole, R-Okla., said the vehicle had been ripped in half and said he saw a person wrapped in tarp and said emergency workers appeared to be "putting a body away."

Bost said he was with his wife on the train, which reportedly also carried House Speaker Paul Ryan.

"Tracy and I were on a train with other members of Congress heading to the Republican strategy retreat in West Virginia," Bost said in a statement. "Late this morning, the train was involved in a collision with a garbage truck. Tracy and I are safe and unharmed. Of the truck's three crewmembers, one was killed and another is being treated for serious injuries. Please keep them and their families in your prayers."

Amtrak spokeswoman Kimberly Woods says there were no reported injuries to passengers or crew members after the incident, which happened around 11:20 a.m. in Crozet, Virginia. Crozet is about 15 miles west of Charlottesville.

Cole said he felt "a tremendous jolt" when the accident occurred at about 11:15 a.m. EST, nearly two hours after it left Washington headed to the Greenbrier resort in White Sulphur Springs, W.Va. The policy retreat, an annual event, is scheduled to last three days and feature speeches from President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence.

Cole said the train stopped quickly after impact. He said several GOP lawmakers who are doctors got off the train to assist, including Rep. Brad Wenstrup, R-Ohio, who was also at last June's shooting of Republicans at a baseball practice in nearby Alexandria, Virginia, and treated some of the victims.

Other doctor-lawmakers who helped included Reps. Michael Burgess, of Texas, Phil Roe of Tennessee, Larry Bucshon of Indiana, Roger Marshall of Kansas and Sen. Bill Cassidy, R-La.

Cassidy later tweeted that there were three people on the truck and "one is dead."

House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., was on the train and was unhurt, aides said.

White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders said President Donald Trump was briefed on the accident.

"There is one confirmed fatality and one serious injury," but no injuries to lawmakers or their staffs, she said.

"Our thoughts and prayers are with everyone that has been affected by this incident," Sanders said.

Rep. James Comer, R-Ky., said about 100 Republican lawmakers were on the train when the crash occurred, which 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. "It was a garbage truck that was apparently, I would assume, trying to cross the tracks."

Comer said Capitol Police quickly jumped off the train, but came back and asked for any doctors to help. Comer said U.S. Reps. and Brad Wenstrup -- all medical doctors -- rushed to help, including performing CPR on one person.

A GOP aide said the train seemed partially derailed.

It was not clear when lawmakers would resume the trip to their retreat.

 
 
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