Rep. James Comer was among several legislators on board a train during a collision Tuesday, Jan. 31, en route to a two-day Republican retreat in West Virginia. No congressmen or staffers were seriously injured in the crash, but a passenger in the truck was killed.
"We were about two hours in, just past Charlottesville. I was reading my phone and there was a pretty big jarring feeling," Comer said. "My body hit the seat in front of me, but I wasn't hurt."
After the initial shock, Comer realized the front of the train had derailed after hitting a garbage truck.
"I looked out the left side of the window and saw a truck tumbling that had gone into pieces," he said. "There was a body on the ground that had been ejected from the truck."
Two of the truck's passengers ended up ejecting. Medical personnel on board the train were able to aid one of the victims until help arrived, but not the other. The GOP traveled the rest of the way to the retreat by bus after backtracking to Charlottesville, a trip Comer described as somber, with barely a word spoken.
"It's a terrible situation, but you could see the compassion from members of Congress and the doctors as they went to help those in the truck," Comer said. "They did everything they could to save those two lives."
Comer was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in November 2016. He represents Kentucky's 1st Congressional District, which is made up of 35 counties including Simpson County.