A Wisconsin scout on the Amtrak train that derailed when it collided with a dump truck in Missouri comforted the truck driver before the man died, the scout’s father told the Post .
Dan Skrypczak, who is Scoutmaster Appleton Troop 73, said in an interview Monday night that his 15-year-old son Eli ran into the driver’s side once he escaped the mangled train and found the man lying in a ditch.
“He’s okay. He’s shaken now that the adrenaline has worn off,” Skrypczak said of his son. “When we finally spoke to him, he was pretty upset, he wished he could have done more. “
“I’m just trying to explain to him, you get hit by a speeding train, there’s not much anyone could have done for the truck driver. He did everything he could, he did what he could. necessary, he brought comfort and help.
Eli and 15 other Scouts, along with eight adult leaders, were on the train traveling from Los Angeles to Chicago when the train slammed into the truck at a public level crossing. The two scout troops were on their way back to Wisconsin after a 10-day outback tour of New Mexico, said Skrypczak, who was not on the trip.
The driver’s death was one of three fatalities from the collision while dozens were injured, including three of the adult leaders and a scout, according to officials and Skrypczak.
The train was carrying 243 passengers and 12 crew members.
Skrypczak said his son found the man in a ditch and called a State Patrol officer once first responders arrived on the scene. They tried to stabilize him, but the man succumbed to his injuries, the father said.
“He’s a typical 15-year-old boy, he thinks he’s Superman, he should have been able to save that guy,” the father said.
Later, while passengers were still being helped off the train, a woman arrived who apparently knew the driver and wanted to see his remains concealed, Skrypczak said.
“He said a woman was really upset and they wouldn’t let her see the body…but it also shook him up,” he said of his teenage son.
Eli, who has been with the scouts since grade one, was one of many scouts who sprang into action to help passengers after the derailment, Skrypczak said. A handful were able to get off the train and then helped in any way they could.
The scouts were spread out on the train, including at their seats, in the dining room and on the observation deck, he was told.
A scout was actually stuck in a train toilet for 35 minutes, trapped by the weight of one of the passengers who died in the incident and was against the door, Skrypczak said.
He heard some of the scouts helping first responders immobilize passengers as they were placed on backboards and sent into ambulances.
“Any scout leader sees kids staying calm and being part of the solution instead of the emergency itself, I think any scout leader would be proud of that,” Skrypczak said. “And I am.”
“I’m very, very happy with the way they behaved, the way they behaved in this situation,” he said. “Obviously very sad that this happened and I can’t wait to hug my child.”