While Engineer Remains Quiet, More Amtrak Victims Tell Their Stories

Brandon Bostian, The Amtrak Engineer Who Was Driving Train 188 The Night It Derailed In Philadelphia, Has Remained Virtually Invisible In The Year Since The Crash.

The passengers whose lives were upended, on the other hand, are increasingly speaking out to tell their stories and demand answers.

“I think either Mr. Bostian or Amtrak, it’s outrageous that no one’s contacted us to say anything, to say they’re sorry or they’re concerned,” said Bob Hewett, who was riding in the train’s mangled business car. “This is something that never had to happen.”

Aside from Bostian’s comments to the National Transportation Safety Board, he has been silent and his lawyer, Robert Goggin, doesn’t return phone calls. In his comments to investigators, Bostian said he doesn’t remember key moments when the train accelerated to 106 mph at a curve with a speed limit of 50 mph.

Documents released by the NTSB make clear there was no mechanical failure that caused the crash, and that Bostian had pushed the train to full throttle until moments before the crash. An NTSB board meeting in Washington D.C. on Tuesday is expected to make public the analysis and conclusions reached after a year-long investigation.

The Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office is participating in the NTSB investigation, a spokesman said, but he stopped short of stating the office was conducting a criminal investigation.

Hewett’s described his life since the crash as “terrible.”

A security official at the chemicals company BASF, 58-year-old Hewett was traveling from Washington D.C. to the Metro Park Station near his home when the train derailed.

“I hit ceilings, luggage racks, seats,” he said at a news conference Thursday at the Philadelphia offices of his lawyer, Bob Mongeluzzi. “Right before I lost consciousness I crashed head-on with another gentleman.”

His injuries were terrible and his recovery is still uncertain. His entire rib cage was crushed and he still has problems breathing. A tear to his diaphragm worsened in February, leading to his stomach herniating into his chest in February. Scar tissue on his kidneys have reduced their function. He has severe injuries to his shoulders and back.

“Now I’ve got a 15-month-old granddaughter and I can’t even pick her up and hold her,” he said. “I can’t play with her.”

His life has been reduced to doctor’s appointments and therapy, Hewett said. And his family has been traumatized.

“It’s an ongoing problem,” his wife Judy said. “It’s a daily thing we have to face.”

Along with his physical injuries, Hewett suffers from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and feelings of survivor’s guilt. Yet there is also gratitude that he survived.

Part of his family’s purpose for holding the news conference was to try to find the rescue workers who pulled him from the wreckage.

“I want to say thank you,” he said. “I don’t know what else to say. I’m just so grateful.”

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