WAVE Country Congressmen recall deadly train crash

A garbage truck collided with a train carrying Republican lawmakers in Crozet, VA. (Source:...
A garbage truck collided with a train carrying Republican lawmakers in Crozet, VA. (Source: WVIR/CNN)
Updated: Jan. 31, 2018 at 11:59 PM EST
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Todd Young (Source: WAVE 3 News Archives)
Todd Young (Source: WAVE 3 News Archives)
James Comer (Source: WAVE 3 News Archives)
James Comer (Source: WAVE 3 News Archives)

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - Walking down the aisle of the Amtrak train taking members of Congress to a retreat, Indiana Senator Todd Young felt the jolt.

"It wrenched my back but I'm fine," Young said. "It didn't knock me to the ground."

But it did knock the train off the tracks late Wednesday morning when the train hit a garbage truck on the tracks, in a remote region close to Charlottesville, Virginia.

First District Congressman James Comer of Kentucky looked out the window after feeling the impact.

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"And I could see the garbage truck still rolling and exploding in pieces and I noticed after a few seconds there were two bodies that had been ejected from the garbage truck that were lying on the ground," Comer told WAVE 3 News Reporter Scott Reynolds.

Several doctors who are members of Congress wanted to get off the train and render aid to those thrown from the truck, but Capitol Police kept the doors locked at first.

"They were the first that jumped off to make sure that it wasn't an ambush or anything like that because no one was expecting to hit a vehicle on a train in a remote part of Virginia," Comer explained.

Once Capitol Police knew it was just a horrible accident, those doctors hurried to help. It was already too late for one man in the truck who didn't have a pulse. But they gave aid to the others who are now reported in serious and good condition.

Comer gave thanks his family drove from Kentucky to meet him at the retreat. Other members of Congress had family on the train.

"I know my two little kids would not have been sitting in their seats."

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There were no major injuries on the train, but one Minnesota Congressman did go to the hospital for concussion symptoms, and there were some minor cuts and bruises.

Representative Comer and Senator Young joined others in prayer as police and medical teams arrived within minutes. Soon they would be back on the train for the 15 mile ride back to Charlottesville, where they would board buses for the last 165 miles of their journey.

A different mode of transportation and after the chaotic and fatal train wreck, also a different mood.

"Somber," Comer said. "There wasn't much conversation."

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