Pete Sessions: Local congressmen OK after 'very violent' train collision

A train carrying Republican lawmakers to their retreat in West Virginia collided in Crozet with what appeared to be a garbage truck on Wednesday.
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An Amtrak train carrying more than 300 Republican members of Congress collided with a truck outside Charlottesville, Virginia about 10: 30 a.m. Central Time this morning.

“Members of congress that are on this train – probably everybody has some form of whiplash. It was a very violent collision that threw us all forward. We did not derail,” said U.S. Rep. Pete Sessions, R-Dallas, chairman of the House Rules Committee.

"All of a sudden out of the clear blue we had a huge hit. The train lurched. We hit a truck," he continued. "There were three people in the cab of that truck."

CNN quoted the White House in saying there was one fatality in the crash. Sessions said another was seriously hurt and one walked away. Sen. Jeff Flake told The Washington Post he and other lawmakers helped carry one of the injured truck passengers to an ambulance.

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Sessions said it happened about 40 miles west of Charlottesville, VA as Republican members of Congress and their staffs were traveling to a hotel in West Virginia for the annual Republican Caucus retreat. Vice President Mike Pence was supposed to address the group tonight, Sessions added, and President Trump is scheduled to attend tomorrow.

Paramedics were on the train checking passengers when WFAA spoke with Sessions and U.S. Rep. Devin Nunes, R-California, chairman of the House Intelligence Committee.

“It looks like neck and back type of injuries but the train [stayed] on the track which is good,” Nunes told WFAA.

Nunes said six to 10 people in the car with him have head or neck injuries.

“Chairman Sessions was a couple seats behind me,” he said. “I had just sat down and then just got slammed into the seat in front of me.”

“Thank you to everyone who has reached out about the accident with the train carrying members to the GOP Retreat. I am safe. First responders are on the scene,” Tweeted U.S. Rep. John Ratcliffe, R-Rockwall.

Rep. Michael Burgess, an OB/GYN, was among the physicians on board who worked to render aid to the injured people in the trash truck.

"It was a tough accident scene," Burgess told WFAA. "A young man who left his family this morning to go to work won’t be coming home tonight, that’s hard to process.”

Rep. Roger Williams, who represents large portions of Central Texas and parts of Tarrant and Parker was also on board and said he wasn't injured. The crash comes after just seven month after Williams was injured when a gunman targeted House and Senate members at an early morning practice before the Congressional Baseball game. 

“It just reminds you of everyday you get up you never know what’s ahead of you," Williams told WFAA.

Rep. Jason Lewis (MN) was seen being transported to an ambulance after the crash.  He updated his constituents late Wednesday saying he was joining his GOP colleagues for the retreat in West Virginia.