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No criminal activity suspected in train accident

No criminal activity suspected in train accident
© Twitter/Rep. Greg Walden

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. — Law enforcement officials do not suspect any foul play in a train crash Wednesday morning that left several lawmakers injured and one person dead.

The incident took place about 11:20 a.m. just west of Crozet, Va., about a dozen miles outside of Charlottesville.

Senate Sergeant at Arms Frank Larkin, who rushed to the scene, said it appeared to be an accident and not a criminal act.

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“I know that they’re monitoring the situation,” he said of the FBI. “We’re not picking up that there’s any type of criminal activity or ill attempt here. It’s just an unfortunate accident.”

Republican lawmakers were headed to a three-day retreat at The Greenbrier resort in West Virginia when the train hit a truck at a train crossing.

Lawmakers were taken off a special Amtrak train and transferred to buses after the disabled train was towed to Charlottesville. Local and state police surrounded the Charlottesville train station and helicopters hovered overhead while lawmakers transferred onto buses to continue the journey to the Greenbrier. 

Police conducted a thorough sweep of the train to make sure no lawmakers or staff were left behind.

Larkin said “a couple people on the train are going [to seek medical treatment] for neck and back injuries” but referred requests for more detailed information to Capitol Police.  

Also at the Charlottesville station, Rep. Susan BrooksSusan Wiant BrooksHouse conservatives want ethics probe into Dems' handling of Kavanaugh allegations Women poised to take charge in Dem majority Hillicon Valley: Officials pressed on Russian interference at security forum | FCC accuses Sinclair of deception | Microsoft reveals Russia tried to hack three 2018 candidates | Trump backs Google in fight with EU | Comcast gives up on Fox bid MORE (R-Ind.) said she had just returned from a nearby hospital where she had accompanied some colleagues to get checked out.

She said everyone was doing well, but declined to provide any details before she ducked into a black idling SUV.

One lawmaker, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said he saw Minnesota Rep. Jason LewisJason Mark LewisGOP lawmaker once belittled sexual harassment: 'How traumatizing was it?' Paul Ryan to campaign for 25 vulnerable House Republicans How America’s urban-rural divide is changing the Democratic Party MORE (R) in a neck brace being transported away from the scene of the accident by emergency personnel.

Lewis’s staff later Tweeted that he was being checked out at a local hospital for a concussion.

Larkin said risks are inherent whenever large groups of lawmakers travel together away from the Capitol.

“We had resources on the train escorting the members when the accident happened and subsequently went into action. The priority was obviously to maintain the security of the members but certainly to address the injuries that occurred,” he said.

He praised the quick reaction from officials across several law enforcement agencies.

“The interagency response here, no-notice response, to this incident was superb,” Larkin said.