A Republican lawmaker with a background in medicine has been hailed a hero after an Amtrak train ferrying dozens of GOP members of Congress, including House Speaker Paul Ryan, struck a garbage truck that had rolled onto the tracks.
Rep. Roger Marshall, of Kansas, said he immediately offered himself as a volunteer when police officers passed his aisle following the Wednesday crash.
”By the time I got there, I looked outside, there were two patients lying down and obviously, one was in really bad shape, and the other was not in good shape,” Marshall told CBS News. “Dr. Phil Roe — [a] close, close friend, OB-GYN from Tennessee — was trying to get an airway out on the other person. [I] jumped over there, no pulse, no breathing — a bad situation — so we started CPR at that time.”
He explained that fellow doctors, Rep. Larry Bucshon, a cardiologist, his wife Dr. Kathryn Bucshon, an anesthesiologist, Rep. Michael Burgess, an OB-GYN, and several other doctors and servicemen all had a hand in rescue efforts at the crash site.
“It was kind of like after a big surgery, we all ended up in the bathroom trying to get the blood off of ourselves and trying to get ourselves together,” Marshall explained. “And certainly we knew by then that everybody on the train was basically OK.”
Before his career in politics, Marshall was a doctor. He worked as an OB-GYN, during which time he delivered more than 5,000 babies, according to his website.
A passenger in the truck, Christopher Foley, 28, of Louisa County, Va., died as a result of injuries sustained in the crash. The other passenger was airlifted to the hospital with critical injuries, and the truck’s driver was transported to a medical facility in serious condition, the Albemarle County Police Department said in a statement.
A total of six people were hospitalized, and no members of Congress or their staffers were seriously injured, White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said.
“I think we did everything we can do,” Marshall said. “So you know we’re praying for their families.”
The garbage truck was struck by the train at about 11:20 a.m. in Crozhet, Va., located just outside Charlottesville, Amtrak said in a statement.
Marshall recalled that he and his wife were on their way to a legislative retreat at the Greenbrier resort in West Virginia when they felt “a big thump.”
“I knew that something was wrong,” he said. “The first thing I thought, ‘My gosh, someone’s trying to hijack our train or something.’ So I looked around… Capitol police scurrying […] there was a couple kids running down the aisle and they fell and bumped their heads. I could see they were okay.”
GOP lawmakers say the retreat will go on as planned, with President Trump scheduled to arrive and address the group Thursday.
A GoFundMe page has been set up to support Christopher Foley’s family with funeral expenses.