Posts Tagged ‘GOP congressmen’

Trial Begins in Case of Truck Driver Struck by Amtrak Train that Carried GOP Congressmen in January 2018

February 25, 2019

A Virginia court began hearing evidence on Monday in the trial of a truck driver charged in connection with a Jan. 31, 2018, crash involving a chartered Amtrak taking Republican members of Congress to a political retreat in West Virginia.

Dana William Naylor Jr., the driver of the truck, was charged with involuntary manslaughter and maiming while driving under the influence in connection with the incident that left one passenger in the truck dead and another seriously injured.

Prosecutors said in court that Naylor drove the truck around downed crossing gates on tracks operated by the Buckingham Branch Railroad near Crozet.

Albemarle County assistant commonwealth’s attorney Juan L. Vega said in his opening statement that Naylor was impaired by THC, typically derived from marijuana, at the time of the collision.

Vega said that after the collision Naylor told EMTs called to the scene that he had tried to beat the train and that “his life was over.”

Defense attorney William Tanner countered that the crash was a “horrible tragedy,” but that Naylor had not tried to drive around the crossing gates.

Rather, Tanner said, the crossing gates came down on the truck as it passed over the crossing and that Naylor panicked when he was unable to drive around the gate on the other side of the crossing.

Tanner contended that video evidence of the collision will support that argument and that Naylor’s conduct was not a crime.

During Monday’s proceedings, three witnesses testified about Naylor’s behavior at the scene of the collision after it occurred.

EMT Emma Freeauf said she treated Naylor who repeatedly asked about the condition of his coworkers.

She also testified that Naylor said he “tried to beat the train” and that the collision “was all his fault.”

Nayor and the two other men in the truck, which was hauling garbage, were all employees of the same company.

No one aboard the chartered Amtrak train, which was following the route used by Amtrak’s Chicago-New York Cardinal, were injured.

Court Documents Show Driver had THC in System

December 7, 2018

A Virginia television station has reported that court documents show the truck driver who drove a garbage truck into the path of an Amtrak special last January carrying Republican Congressmen had THC in his system on the day of the incident.

The documents say that 31-year-old Dana Naylor had THC — the psychoactive component from marijuana — in his system on the day of the crash.

The documents show a urine test was positive for THC at a 606 level at the time of the Jan. 31 incident that killed a passenger in the truck and left another person seriously injured.

A medical doctor at the University of Virginia said Naylor’s test didn’t just come back positive, but that the levels were also elevated.

“It’s certainly gonna make a screening test positive, which makes them do a confirmation test, right?” said Dr. Chris Holstege “It’s above what the cut-offs typically are for screenings, so now I have a level that’s elevated, and significantly so.”

Holstege told the TV station there is no question marijuana was in the driver’s system at the time of the accident.

“They certainly did marijuana,” Holstege said. “The question then comes — how often marijuana? If you’re a chronic user, that can impact your driving, right?”

Naylor was indicted by a Virginia court for manslaughter and DUI maining. He is set to go to trial next February.

The TV station, WVIR in Charlottesville, said in its report that there is no target number for THC like there is with alcohol content in the body.

The station said this gap in the law makes it difficult to say whether a driver was impaired at the time of the crash.

“It’s hard to interpret, and especially from urine to go back and say ‘yes that level’s really high, that must have meant that they were inebriated at the time of the accident,’” Holstege said. “You really can’t do that.”

WVIR said neither Naylor’s attorney or a prosecutor would comment on the pending case.

The Amtrak special was en route from Washington to the Greenbrier resort in West Virginia where the GOP lawmakers were to attend an annual political retreat.

The train was following the route of Amtrak’s Chicago-New York Cardinal.

None of the Congressman suffered serious injuries beyond bumps and bruises.

The crash occurred on the Buckhingham Branch Railroad at at a grade crossing near Crozet, Virginia.

Earlier, a judge denied a request from Naylor’s attorney to +suppress the evidence from a blood test.

The attorney argued the test was obtained in a misleading way.

The test was ordered after a detective said several hours after the collision that he smelled alcohol on Naylor.

The defense attorney said EMTs on the scene didn’t notice an odor at the time of the crash, but a judge agreed with a prosecutor who said the defense didn’t present enough evidence to get the information from the blood test thrown out.

In a preliminary report the National Transportation Safety Board said Naylor drove around the railroad crossing gates, ignored signals that a train was coming, and ended up on the tracks as the train arrived.

Man Killed in Amtrak Crash Identified

February 1, 2018

The person killed when a chartered Amtrak train carrying Republican congressmen on Wednesday struck a garbage truck in Virginia has been identified as a passenger in the truck.

Authorities said the victim was Christopher Foley, 28, of Louisa County, Virginia.

A second but unidentified passenger in the truck was airlifted to University of Virginia Medical Center with critical injuries, the Abermarle County Police Department said in a statement. The truck’s driver was listed in serious condition at the hospital.

The UVA Medical Center said it received six patients from the incident in Crozet, which is located about 13 miles west of Charlottesville. The train had Amfleet cars and P42DC locomotives on the front and rear.

The hospital said one of the patients it received was in critical condition, one was in good condition, three were still being evaluated and one had been discharged.

The National Transportation Safety Board had a team of investigators on the scene by Wednesday afternoon.

NTSB member Earl Weener said investigators wouldn’t speculate on any possible cause of the incident, which Amtrak said occurred at 11:10 a.m. on the Buckingham Branch Railroad. The line is used by Amtrak’s tri-weekly Chicago-New York Cardinal.

Earlier reports said about 100 GOP lawmakers, their aides and families were aboard the train en route to a political retreat being held between Wednesday and Friday at the Greenbrier resort at White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia.

The retreat, which will continue in modified form, was to have a visits from President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence.

Weener said the NTSB will work with representatives from the Federal Railroad Administration and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.

He said that Pete Kotowski, a senior highway safety investigator for the NTSB, will be in charge of conducting the investigation.

Weener said investigators initially will focus on the collision site.

“Over the next few days our investigators will work on the scene to document the crash site and gather factual information,” Weener said. “Our mission is to understand not only what happened, but why it happened and to make recommendations to prevent it from happening again.”

He said that investigators will not seek to determine the probable cause while on the scene of the crash.

Weener did say that NTSB investigators will use a number of “factor groups” to analyze the collision site, including human, highway, vehicle, motor carrier and survival factors.

The human factors group, he said, takes into account the potential responsibility of the train engineer, including the operator’s background, licensing, experience and level of training as well as the possible influence of alcohol or drugs.

NTSB officials will attempt to recover recording devices located in the lead and trailing P42DC locomotives.

Weener said there is no evidence that the collision was the result of an attack of some kind.

“The NTSB does safety investigations so the fact that we are here, the presumption is that it was an accident,” Weener said. “Should we find anything that indicates differently, we’ll immediately involve the proper authorities.”

Amtrak spokeswoman Christina Leeds said it was premature to offer specific comment about the incident, but did say that accidents at rail crossings are far too common.

In a news release, Amtrak said it will in the coming days continue to work with the NTSB, law enforcement, Operation Lifesaver and other stakeholders to reduce the frequency of these accidents.

“This is an opportunity to remind everyone about the importance of exercising caution around railroad rights-of-way,” Leeds said.

The passengers aboard the train were taken by bus to the Greenbrier and by early afternoon the train had been taken to Charlottesville.

Amtrak Special Carrying GOP Congressmen to Political Retreat Strikes Truck in Virginia, 1 Dead

January 31, 2018

One person was killed and five others injured when an Amtrak train carrying 100 Republican members of Congress, their aides and their families to a political retreat struck a garbage truck in Virginia on Wednesday.

Killed was an occupant of the truck. Three people were transported to the University of Virginia Medical Center, including one who the hospital reported was in critical condition. Two others were taken to another medical facility.

None of the members of Congress, which included House Speaker Paul Ryan, were seriously injured, although Rep. Jason Lewis of Minnesota was taken to a hospital for a possible concussion.

News reports said that three congressmen who are doctors tended to the injured before emergency personnel arrived. They included Reps. Larry Bucshon of Indiana, Roger Marshall of Kansas and Brad Wenstrup of Ohio

The congressmen were traveling to a conference being held at the Greenbrier resort in White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia.

The accident occurred at 11:20 a.m. on the Buckingham Branch Railroad in Crozet, Virginia, near near Lanetown and Marymart Farm roads.

The route is used by Amtrak’s tri-weekly Chicago-New York Cardinal, which is scheduled to depart and arrive in New York on Wednesdays.

“Today’s incident was a terrible tragedy,” Ryan tweeted later. “We are grateful for the first responders who rushed to the scene and we pray for the victims and their families. May they all be in our thoughts right now.”

Amtrak issued a statement saying that two of its crew members and two passengers on the train were taken to a hospital with minor injuries.

The train remained upright and did not derail. Photographs made at the scene showed damage to the lead locomotive.

The train had departed from Washington for the retreat, which is to start today and run through Friday.

The train was pulled by P42DC No. 145, the Phase III heritage locomotive. The train of Amfleet equipment had a trailing P42DC, No. 4

A GOP spokesman said the retreat will continue as scheduled.

The National Transportation Safety Board said it sent a Go-Team to the scene to investigate.

News reports said that U.S. Capital Police were on the scene. One account said that following the crash, police wearing dark clothing surrounded the train with weapons drawn.

They had been aboard the train and got off shortly after the train stopped.

Passengers aboard the train were put aboard buses to be taken the rest of the way to the Greenbrier.