Wichita teacher survives tornado, train wreck in less than 2 months
WICHITA, Kan. (KWCH) - A Wichita Public Schools teacher and Andover resident who survived the April 29 tornado that tore through part of town and destroyed nearby homes was also one of more than 200 passengers on the Amtrak train that derailed Monday near Mendon, Missouri. The crash killed four people and injured dozens more. Two months ago, Allen Gallaway’s Andover home was less than half of a mile from a neighborhood the tornado destroyed. That night, he took cover with his fiancé. Both were uninjured, but lost power for several days. After Monday’s train crash, he’s survived two disasters in as many months. Tuesday, he spoke with Eyewitness News about what he’s been through.
“I’m a little done with that. I don’t need a third thing,” Gallaway said.
Gallaway is a fifth-grade teacher at Wichita’s Linwood Elementary School. He and a handful of fellow teachers were on the Amtrak train Monday, heading to Chicago for the yearly National Educators Association meeting. About an hour past Kansas City, the train ride took an unexpected turn.
“There was just a huge force of this being thrown forward,” he said. “Thinking for a brief second that we were just stopping really suddenly. And then I can see the car in front of me shifting and rolling over and that was the next thing that was happening to us I remember yelling out, ‘No, on, no.’”
The force of the train rolling over threw the other teachers on top of Gallaway, press against the glass in the flipped train car.
Gallaway said the situation could have been much worse if it wasn’t for not just volunteers and first responders, but also fellow passengers on the train who stepped up to help as many others as they could.
“There was this one man who, I think he was able to pop one of the side windows opened (to) get people out. Really helpful,” he said. “Once we were out on top of the train, he started helping other people through the window and getting down off the train. It all seemed very surreal.”
Gallaway and fellow teachers aboard the rain weren’t injured, but he said they’ve yet to hear anything from Amtrak about the accident.
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