VA. TRAIN CRASH: Rail crossing at crash site has warning signals

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WASHINGTON (AP) — The railroad crossing where a train carrying Republican lawmakers struck a trash truck is equipped with two advance warning signs, two roadway gate arms, two mast-mounted flashing lights and a bell to warn of an approaching train.

Those details are included in a U.S. Department of Transportation Inventory Form dated Jan. 3 describing the warning system at the crossing near Crozet, Virginia.

According to the report, three freight trains pass through the intersection during the day and two at night, on average. The report says passenger trains don't go through very often — an average of less than one per day.

The maximum speed for trains crossing the intersection is 60 miles per hour.

One accident report filed by CSX Transportation in 1999 said a train hit a vehicle that was stuck between the rails at the crossing. No injuries were reported, but there was damage to the train's engine and the vehicle, which was driven by a 70-year-old woman who got out of her car before the train hit.

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3:15 p.m.

President Donald Trump says he has spoken to House Speaker Paul Ryan after a train carrying Republican lawmakers to a retreat hit a truck on the tracks in Virginia.

The president says in the Oval Office that the lawmakers are "doing pretty good" and are "proceeding with their conference." Trump says he was told "it was a pretty rough hit."

The White House says one person was killed and another was seriously injured after the chartered train struck a garbage truck.

Trump is planning to address the Republican lawmakers Thursday at the conference at the Greenbrier resort in White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia.

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Rep. Chuck Fleischmann of Tennessee was injured Wednesday morning when a train taking Republican members of Congress to a retreat hit a garbage truck in Virginia.

The Republican said in a phone call from the scene, where he was being treated for his injuries, that he was on his way to the restroom when the crash occurred. He said he was thrown around upon impact and suffered neck, back and foot injuries.

Fleischmann said he was in a "bit of shock" and significant pain.

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2:30 p.m.

Staff members say Rep. Jason Lewis of Minnesota has been taken to a hospital after being injured in a train accident in Virginia.

Members of his staff tweeted that the first-term congressman was being checked for a possible concussion after the Wednesday crash.

Officials say the train was carrying Republican lawmakers from Washington to a retreat in West Virginia when it hit a truck on the tracks near Crozet, Virginia.

The White House is confirming one fatality and one serious injury after the chartered train hit a garbage truck.

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A spokeswoman says Rep. Jason Lewis of Minnesota has been taken to a hospital after being injured in a train accident in Virginia.

Campaign manager Becky Alery says the first-term congressman has suffered possible whiplash in the Wednesday crash and the hospital visit is standard protocol.

Officials say the train was carrying Republican lawmakers from Washington to a retreat in West Virginia when it hit a truck on the tracks near Crozet, Virginia.

The White House is confirming one fatality and one serious injury after the chartered train hit a garbage truck.

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1:15 p.m.

A congressman on the train involved in an accident on its way to a GOP retreat in West Virginia says three lawmakers who are doctors tended to crash victims.

Rep. James Comer of Kentucky says the collision destroyed a garbage truck, leaving it "just in pieces."

Comer says Reps. Larry Bucshon of Indiana, Roger Marshall of Kansas and Brad Wenstrup of Ohio came to the aid of crash victims before emergency personnel — including a transport helicopter — arrived.

The train was en route to a conference at the Greenbrier resort in White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia, and hit the truck in Crozet, Virginia — which is near west of Charlottesville.

Comer says lawmakers, spouses, and aides had been on the train for about two hours when suddenly there was a crash. The impact made him jump out of his seat.

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12:40 p.m.

An Amtrak spokeswoman says a train has come into contact with a vehicle on the tracks in central Virginia — the same area where members of Congress are reporting their train struck a truck.

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

Woods says the train originated in Washington, but she couldn't confirm that members of Congress were aboard.

She says local law enforcement is investigating and crews are inspecting equipment for damage.

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12:35 p.m.

The White House is confirming one fatality and one serious injury after a chartered train carrying Republican lawmakers to a retreat in West Virginia hit a garbage truck.

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders says there are no serious injuries among members of Congress or congressional staff.

Sanders says President Donald Trump has been fully briefed on the matter and is receiving regular updates.

The train carrying the lawmakers hit a garbage truck south of Charlottesville, Virginia.

Lawmakers are heading to their annual legislative retreat at the Greenbrier resort in White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia.

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A chartered train carrying dozens of GOP lawmakers to a Republican retreat in West Virginia struck a garbage truck south of Charlottesville, Virginia, on Wednesday. No lawmakers were believed injured, but it at least one person in the truck was said to be seriously injured.

"We're fine, but our train hit a garbage truck. Members with medical training are assisting the drivers of the truck," Rep. Greg Walden, R-Ore., wrote on Twitter.A GOP aide said the train is partially derailed.

Oklahoma GOP Rep. Tom Cole says a person on the truck may have been seriously injured.

Cole said he's not aware of any injuries on the train. A GOP aide speaking on condition of anonymity says no lawmakers were injured.

Cole said he believes the accident occurred south of Charlottesville, Virginia. The train was en route to the Greenbrier resort in White Sulfur Springs for a three-day issues retreat featuring appearances by President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence.

Rep. Bradley Byrne, R-Ala., tweeted: "The train carrying GOP members to our retreat had a collision, but Rebecca and I are both okay. Security and doctors on board are helping secure the scene and treat injuries."

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.

He 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, R-Texas, Phil Roe, R-Tenn., and Sen. Bill Cassidy, R-La.

Cole said the front of the train hit a vehicle that appeared to be a trash truck, which he said was torn in half. He said the accident apparently occurred at or near a crossing because he could see railroad crossing gates.

He said lawmakers had not been told when they would resume their trip to their retreat.




 
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