One man died when a train carrying US Republican lawmakers hit a garbage truck in Virginia.A chartered Amtrak train carrying US Republican lawmakers was travelling at 98 kilometres per hour when the driver hit the brakes in a fatal crash that struck a garbage truck on the tracks in Crozet, Virginia, investigators say.
The National Transportation Safety Board said in a briefing on Thursday that the maximum speed limit at the crossing was 96.6 km/h and that the driver in Wednesday’s crash applied the brakes 20 seconds before the train came to rest, preliminary data shows. Investigations are continuing into whether the train braked prior to impact.
A passenger on the truck, 28-year-old Christopher Foley, was killed and two others on the truck were injured, according to police. The NTSB has not been able to interview the 30-year-old driver of the truck.
No lawmakers were seriously injured but a Minnesota representative, Jason Lewis, was taken to a hospital as a precaution and released.
The train had hundreds of passengers onboard at the time of the accident, NTSB board member Earl Weener said.
The NTSB has not yet downloaded the forward locomotive video camera or event data recorder. The board said that when it reviews the video data it should be able to determine if the signals at the crossing were working or if the truck was moving.
The train was taking lawmakers to the annual retreat in White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia. Amtrak said the collision occurred at 11.18am (local time) in Crozet, a tiny town between the college town of Charlottesville, Virginia, and White Sulphur Springs.
The Virginia Department of Transportation said the intersection where the crash occurred had flashing signals and gates to prevent motorists from getting on the tracks as trains approach.