VIRGINIA (CBSDFW.COM) – Texas Senator Ted Cruz and four North Texas GOP Congressmen were among the lawmakers on board an Amtrak train involved in a deadly accident in Crozet, Virginia near Charlottesville Wednesday morning.
The train hit a dump truck, killing one man, seriously injuring another. A third passenger in the truck walked away.
Representative Pete Sessions of Dallas, who was aboard the train, said Amtrak representatives told him and others that the truck driver was responsible for what happened.
Sessions said, “The way they said it to us was the (train) engineers were 100 percent. It just happened. There was no warning. He attempted to out-run the train. I have no reason to assume that it was anything other than stupidity involved.”
Amtrak released a statement saying local law enforcement is investigating the accident.
The NTSB sent a team of investigators to the crash site.
A man who lives near the accident site, Benny Layne, told the Associated Press that in the recent past, he has seen the crossing arms lowered for hours even though there was no train nearby.
A spokeswoman for the company that leases the tracks, Buckingham Branch Railroad, she wasn’t aware of any problems with the crossing equipment.
Another member of Congress aboard the train, Michael Burgess, a medical doctor, said he and others went into action after realizing what happened.
Burgess said they got off the train and went to the truck where they helped a young man who was unconscious, but still breathing.
“This individual struck something with his face, so there was a significant amount of blood, his nose, his mouth, most of the efforts were to make sure he had a clear airway because he was breathing on his own.”
Burgess said he wondered how quickly paramedics would arrive. “Can they land the helicopter here? This individual needs a much higher level of care, much more acute care than anything we’re going to be able to administer here on the road side.”
Sessions said there was no panic on the train after the impact. “It was definitely a near miss for all of us. We all lurched forward, a sudden stop, a sudden hit and then it lurks forward and then back a second. We’re lucky, we’re just lucky.”
Aside from Sessions, Burgess, and Senator Cruz, Congressmen John Ratcliffe of Heath, Jeb Hensarling of Dallas, and Roger Williams whose district includes Cleburne, were also aboard the train Wednesday.
They all said they are ok.
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