NTSB: Impaired Truck Driver Likely Cause of GOP Train Crash - NBC Bay Area
National & International News
The day’s top national and international news

NTSB: Impaired Truck Driver Likely Cause of GOP Train Crash

The collision killed a passenger in the trash truck



    Train Carrying Lawmakers Strikes Truck

    Republican lawmakers say they felt a jolt and were thrown around when the Amtrak train they were riding hit a garbage truck on the tracks in rural Virginia. One person inside the truck died. News4's Chris Gordon reports. (Published Wednesday, Jan. 31, 2018)

    A trash truck driver who had marijuana in his system likely caused a fatal collision last year with an Amtrak train that was carrying Republican lawmakers, federal investigators concluded Thursday.

    The National Transportation Safety Board's final report said the crash in rural Virginia was likely caused by the truck driver's decision to go around a rail crossing's lowered safety gates. The agency also cited the driver's "inaction" while stopped on the tracks.

    Drugs likely played a role as well, the NTSB said. The driver's blood contained the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana as well as an anti-seizure medication for which investigators found no prescription.

    The ensuing collision killed a passenger in the trash truck and severely injured another. Several people on the train were hurt, including a congressman who suffered a concussion.

    Death Toll, Damages Climb From Typhoon Hagibis

    [NATL] Death Toll, Damages Climb From Typhoon Hagibis

    The death toll from Typhoon Hagibis climbed to 53 on Tuesday, days after it tore through Japan and left hundreds of thousands of homes wrecked, flooded or out of power. Hagibis caused more than 200 rivers to overflow when it hit the island nation on Saturday.

    (Published Tuesday, Oct. 15, 2019)

    The train was carrying Congress members to a strategy retreat at the Greenbrier resort in White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia. The crash occurred in Crozet, just outside of Charlottesville.

    The report said marijuana impairment is evident through slower decision-making and noted the driver's "indecision when he encountered obstacles while trying to cross the tracks."

    "The truck driver's lack of response after stopping the truck and being positioned between two obstacles for several seconds is an example of slow decision-making," the report said.

    The trash truck's driver, Dana William Naylor Jr., had already been indicted locally on involuntary manslaughter and DUI charges.

    But a charge of maiming under the influence was dropped after a judge ruled out certain scientific testimony and blood evidence, the Daily Progress reported.

    Last month, a jury found Naylor not guilty of involuntary manslaughter. He still faces civil suits filed by people who were on the train.

    Quadruple Murder Suspect Brings Body to Police Station

    [NATL] Quadruple Murder Suspect Brings Body to Police Station

    A Roseville, California, man is in custody after he turned himself in to police in connection to a quadruple homicide.  The body of one of his victims was in the car he drove to the police station in Mount Shasta, more than 200 miles away from the original Roseville crime scene.

    (Published Tuesday, Oct. 15, 2019)

    William Tanner, Naylor's attorney during the criminal trial, did not immediately respond to a phone call from The Associated Press seeking comment on the NTSB's report.

    The NTSB's findings may have little impact on Naylor.

    NTSB spokesman Keith Holloway wrote in an email that the agency "does not have any enforcement authority" and that "there is no legal action that can be taken by the board."

    Former Minnesota Republican Congressman Jason Lewis was in one of the train's passenger cars and suffered a concussion after his head struck a seat.

    "There but for the grace of God it could have been a lot worse for some of us on the train," Lewis, 63, said on Thursday.

    Lewis said the crash raises concerns about driving under the influence of marijuana at a time when the drug is being legalized in more states across the U.S.

    Taco Bell Recalls 2.3 Million Pounds of Ground Beef

    [NATL] Taco Bell Recalls 2.3 Million Pounds of Ground Beef

    Taco Bell has voluntarily recalled 2.3 million pounds of seasoned ground beef that originated at Kenosha Beef International in Columbus, Ohio, because of possible contamination with metal shavings. The USDA says there have been no confirmed reports of any adverse reaction.

    (Published Tuesday, Oct. 15, 2019)

    "We have to find a way to prevent this sort of thing," said Lewis, who lives in Woodbury, Minnesota, outside St. Paul.

    "Most people don't want to go back to prohibition, but they're certainly opposed to drunk driving," he said. "You can be the most ardent advocate for decriminalizing marijuana, but nobody I know would want somebody who is high on the job."