Amtrak derailment survivor: ‘All of a sudden I heard a loud smack … I went flying forward’

TACOMA, Wash. — To think of what happened, and what could have been — Shaheim Lewis still has trouble shaking the memories.

“Out of nowhere, all of a sudden I heard a loud smack and at the same time I went flying forward,” he said.

He and his brother were in one of the front cars of Amtrak 501 on Monday. They were headed to Portland after spending time with their stepmom.

“He was about to start school and I was about to get a job. We were about to get an apartment. Just start building things back up,” Lewis said.

Now, instead, Lewis grapples with a lingering concussion, two bulging discs, and the nerve pain that comes along with it all.

And yet there’s something more in the hospital bed.

“Here she comes. Hey baby,” he said as Daisy emerged from under the covers.

Lewis' five-year-old dachshund terrier mix was right there with him, held in his arms at the moment of the crash.

“All you hear is nothing but bomb noises. Everybody's screaming and everything's going in chaos,” he said.

Daisy wasn't injured at all. Lewis took the brunt of the impact. He says Daisy was the runt of the litter when he got her.

Some fleas here and there.

But a fighter and a survivor.

Like him.

Now it's recovery, and focusing on regaining the strength to walk.

“Just getting out of that wheelchair into the seat for the shower was one of the most excruciating painful things I had to do. It was just so degrading having somebody else wash your body because you can't do it yourself. That's just terrible.” Lewis said.

And he thinks of the road ahead, and needing to be close to Daisy, holding her tight as ever.

“Love you,” Lewis said as he shared a sweet kiss.