NTSB: No foul play in crash of train carrying GOP lawmakers

TSB investigators survey the site of a crash between an Amtrak train and a garbage truck near Charlottesville, Va., late Wednesday. The truck's driver was killed in the crash. Photo courtesy of NTSB Newsroom/Twitter

Feb. 2 (UPI) — The National Transportation Safety Board has ruled out foul play in the case of an Amtrak train — carrying a number of Republican congressional members — that crashed into a garbage truck in Virginia.

In a news conference late Wednesday, NTSB investigators said nothing suspicious has been found and noted that it’s still too early to determine the cause of the crash.

“We have a signals expert. And We will be looking at the safety of the grade crossings. That would include lights, arms, signals, crossbucks and so forth,” NTSB official Earl Weener said.

“The NTSB does safety investigation, so the fact that we’re here is a presumption that it was an accident,” he added. “Should we find anything that implies differently, we will immediately involve the proper authorities.”

The NTSB sent a “Go-Team” to investigate Wednesday’s crash, led by senior highway safety investigator Pete Kotowski — who has expertise in human performance, highway factors, survival factors, vehicle factors, truck operations, train operations and grade crossing signals.

The train was carrying the Republican lawmakers to a retreat in West Virginia when it struck the garbage truck near Charlottesville, Va. One of the two passengers in the garbage truck, Christopher Foley, 28, of Louisa County, Va., was killed. The other truck passenger was flown to the University of Virginia Medical Center with critical injuries.

Five others were hospitalized; one has been discharged and the others were being evaluated.

Amtrak said it would work with the NTSB in the probe, saying in a statement that its “primary concern is for those impacted by this event.

“It is premature to offer specific comment about this incident, however, it is clear that accidents at rail crossings nationwide are far too common,” the carrier said.

On Thursday, President Donald Trump tweeted he would travel to West Virginia to meet with the “great members” of the Republican Party to plan infrastructure and discuss Immigration.

None of the lawmakers on the train, including House Speaker Paul Ryan, were seriously hurt. Some received minor injuries.


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