Amtrak derailment heroes honored by state lawmakers

VIDEO: Special honors at state capitol for first responders of Amtrak derailment

OLYMPIA, Wash. — The heroes of the Amtrak derailment stood in the state Senate this morning as lawmakers gave them a standing ovation and passed a resolution praising them. They scrambled the scene near DuPont when a passenger train derailed as it crossed Southbound I-5.

The vast majority were trained law enforcement and medical professionals, but two car-pooling civilians were among the very first, first responders.

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"We had gotten off the freeway and saw the train wreck and then we realized how bad it was," said Alicia Hoverson. She and Daniel Konzelman were commuting to work on South Bound I-5 when they saw the Amtrak flash by them moments before the crash.

"Daniel asked me if we wanted to…go down and help? OK, let's go," Hoverson responded.

"We came upon the trains, the two trains that were sideways on the tracks, so the one that was dangling it was above those still on the track," she added.

"Other than let's go help. Nothing else really went through my head. I was like there's people down there that don't know what's going on, this is a tragedy and we need to help," Hoverson remembers thinking.

Konzelman explained, "We went from person to person, Alicia and I, people that were already out of the train, said 'hey are you bleeding, can you breathe, can we get you down to the freeway so that we can get you help.'" 

They are credited with rescuing at least 15 people.

"It's very humbling to be called a hero," Hoverson said. "'Cause I mean I don't feel like one. We just went in that situation and I don't know what a hero is supposed to feel like."

"I'm thankful that people call us a hero," Konzelman added. "But I think that everybody who was brave and involved in the accident was a hero. All of the firefighters and police officers and medic drivers and everybody who helped out. Everybody's a hero I think."