Engineer charged in deadly Amtrak crash

Adjust Comment Print

The state's attorney general has a wide range of options in responding to a judge's order to arrest a speeding Amtrak engineer involved in the deadly 2015 crash, a law professor said Friday, May 12, 2017.

In addition to eight counts of involuntary manslaughter, former Amtrak engineer Brandon Bostian was charged with one count of causing or risking a catastrophe and numerous counts of reckless endangerment, according to Shapiro's statement.

Earlier this week the Philadelphia district attorney said while it was clear the derailment was caused by speeding, there was not enough clear evidence to file criminal charges.

Then on Thursday, a judge ordered the attorney general's office to file charges in the case.

During their investigation, National Transportation Safety Board members concluded that Bostian completely lost track of his location before the 2015 crash - after hearing about a nearby commuter train being struck with a rock over the radio.

The NTSB said it found no evidence that Bostian was impaired or using a cellphone during the Washington-to-New York run. They added that Bostian hit the emergency brakes moments before the crash, but only managed to slow the train to 102 miles per hour.

The Attorney General's Office released a statement saying they had received the referral and were "carefully reviewing this important matter".

More news: Ex-USF DE arrested for 2nd time on sex charge
More news: Condi Rice: Trump handling North Korean situation 'as well as anybody could'
More news: A week for recognizing mental health

Bostian did not return calls for comment.

Prosecutors said Friday they have been in talks with engineer Brandon Bastian's attorney to have him surrender and be arraigned on the charges.

In his first interview with investigators the week the crash occurred, Bostian told the NTSB he had little memory of the night of the crash when investigators said the train, bound for NY, sped around a curve at the Frankford Junction, and then derailed.

"I remember holding onto the controls tightly and feeling like, okay well this is it, I'm going over", Bostian told investigators. A Naval Academy midshipman and a man from Howard County were among the dead.

As NPR's Merrit Kennedy reported in October, a federal judge approved a $265 million settlement between Amtrak and people affected by the crash. "That's for a jury to decide in this case, as to whether or not Mr. Bostian is credible or incredible". The NTSB has said had that equipment been installed the accident would not have happened.

Bostian, in a lawsuit against Amtrak, said he was left disoriented or unconscious when something struck his train before it derailed.

On Wednesday, the family of 39-year-old Rachel Jacobs, who was killed in the crash, filled out a private citizen criminal complaint, which the DA's office again declined.

Comments