The parents of one of the most critically injured Amtrak passengers were finally able to talk to their son in the hospital Wednesday night.
26-year-old Aaron Harris had been in a medically-induced coma since Monday's crash.
As he slowly recovers, Bob and Lisa Harris of Eliot, Maine, admitted their questions about the accident, and their anger, are mounting.
The Harrises received a phone call from their son's supervisor Monday informing them he was a passenger in the Amtrak crash.
It took them four hours to find out if he survived.
"For four hours, I can't even describe how petrified we were," said Bob Harris.
Although Aaron Harris was conscious after the crash, doctors soon realized he suffered a traumatic brain injury and airlifted him to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle. Besides his head injury, he also had fractured ribs and vertebrae and lacerations on his head.
Harris was in the prime of his life. An All-American lacrosse player in college, he is now the face and the general manager of a wellness center called Float Seattle. The company's web page features his photo.
Harris was one of the 77 passengers on Amtrak 501, when it crashed onto Interstate 5 on Monday. His parents say he was heading to Portland to pick up his car that just had a new canopy installed.
The brain injury left him agitated and in pain, so Harris spent the last few days strapped down to a bed to prevent him from removing his breathing and feeding tubes and I.V.
His parents had to explain what happened to him when he regained consciousness.
"I actually had to take my phone and show him a picture so he could get an idea how badly he was hurt," said Bob Harris.
While the focus has been on their son's recovery, the couple from Maine are starting to learn details of the accident, like the excessive speed, lack of positive train control, and the possibility that distraction played a role.
"On the first run? They can't even be paying attention completely on the first run? It's unbelievable," said Lisa Harris.
The Harrises, along with a growing number of families involved in the crash, have hired an attorney for what will likely be a long legal battle for answers.
"We had Philadelphia, we had New York, we had California," said attorney Robert Gellatly. "Multiple deaths, countless injuries. When is enough enough?"
His family is grateful to his friends and the community in Seattle who helped find him in the hospital, raised money for his recovery, and found them a place to stay.
It is too early for doctors to know if Harris will fully recover.
"Anybody with kids, you see your baby basically in that condition is heart wrenching," said Bob Harris. "It just killed me."
The Harrises hope to learn more about what happened, like how their son was rescued. They also hope by speaking publicly about their story, more will be done to improve the safety of the railway system.
Anyone with questions about their friends and family on train 501 should call 800-523-9101.