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Sen. Cassidy and wife OK after train wreck - KATC.com | Continuous News Coverage | Acadiana-Lafayette

Sen. Cassidy and wife OK after train wreck

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Courtesy Justin Ide, Crozet Volunteer Fire Department, PIO Courtesy Justin Ide, Crozet Volunteer Fire Department, PIO

U.S. Sen. Bill Cassidy and his wife, Dr. Laura Cassidy, are uninjured following the crash of a train carrying members of Congress this morning.

Cassidy, who is a physician, and his wife, a trauma surgeon, were on board the train when it hit a garbage truck in rural Virginia this morning. One person on the truck died and others were injured, at least one seriously. No serious injuries were reported by lawmakers and their families and staff. 

The train was carrying a group of GOP lawmakers to a Republican retreat in West Virginia. Cassidy said President Trump, Vice President Pence, the Secretary of State and Secretary of Defense, as well as other top officials are slated to address the group on various issues during the event. He said he believes all the sessions will still happen, but "it will be a much more somber meeting." 

Cassidy tells KATC he had his eyes closed when the impact happened. He said his wife immediately begin to tend to those in the train who had fallen, or bumped their head, but he knew that the physicians who travel with groups of lawmakers were there to look after the passengers. So, he headed outside to help the people in the truck. 

He wasn't the only one - Cassidy estimates at least six or seven members of Congress on the train are also physicians. There may be as many as 10, he said. When he got outside, he found one man on the ground with three doctors at his head, trying to keep his airway open. 

"He'd clearly been banged in the head. If you saw the front of the truck, the windshield was smashed, so it was easy to imagine that his head hit the windshield," Cassidy said. "He looked so terrible from the neck up. I picked up his feet, trying to make sure the blood in his feet would go up to his heart and his brain.

"As I was doing that, I looked to my right, and there was another fellow, a doctor was looking at him. My wife joined him, and he was dead. They tried to revive him, they gave him CPR and when the EMTs arrived, they gave him oxygen. But he was clearly dead." 

Cassidy said his wife also went to the train engine to evaluate the engineers there. He said they were shaken emotionally, but physically OK. 

"I appreciate my wife for many reasons, but it's wonderful to have a trauma surgeon when there's trauma," Cassidy said. 

He said physicians are trained to deal with situations like this. 

"That's your training. When a doctor sees something, you know to go to the site of the problem and look to see who you can help," he said. In this case, it was "quite an impact," Cassidy said. "You just knew that truck was going to be smashed."

To see our story on the crash, click here.

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