Judge Orders Criminal Charge in PA Amtrak Derailment

13 May, 2017, 09:54 | Author: Warren Cooper
  • Judge finds probable cause to charge Amtrak engineer in derailment

A Philadelphia judge Thursday ordered city prosecutors to reverse course and criminally charge the engineer of a speeding Amtrak train that derailed in the city in May 2015, killing eight people and injuring more than 200.

A local judge on Thursday called on prosecutors to criminally charge Brandon Bostian with involuntary manslaughter and reckless endangerment - almost two years to the day of the tragedy.

Attorneys Thomas Kline, left, Richard Sprague and Robert Mongeluzzi take part in a news conference while standing next to a photo of train engineer Brandon Bostian in Philadelphia, Thursday, May 11, 2017.

After Neifield's order, Cameron L. Kline, communications director for the district attorney's office, said in a statement: "Judge Neifield has ordered the filing of two private criminal complaints as a result of the Amtrak train 188 derailment".

"I firmly believe that the overwhelming evidence of Brandon Bostian operating a train at 106 miles per hour in a 50 miles per hour zone, around a curve, consciously accelerating and then consciously decelerating, while having responsibility for the safety of 248 people meets the standard of reckless endangerment".

To avoid a conflict of interest, prosecutors referred the case against Bostian to Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro's office.

The National Transportation Board determined that the derailment was caused by human error and that Bostian was distracted and had lost situational awareness.

A federal judge in October approved a record $265 million settlement for the accident victims.

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Bostian did not return calls for comment.

Philadelphia prosecutors had earlier declined to charge Bostian, citing insufficient evidence.

The family of a NY woman who was killed sought the criminal complaint after city prosecutors declined to press charges.

Bostian has a personal injury suit pending against Amtrak, saying he was left disoriented or unconscious when something struck his train before it derailed.

Kline and attorney Robert Mongeluzzi represent 32 victims in ongoing litigation against Amtrak. Kline represents the family of the NY victim, Rachel Jacobs, a technology executive, wife and mother. Neifield, a Temple University Law School graduate, is highly regarded, said Temple law professor Jules Epstein.

Court records list addresses for Bostian in New York City and in Somerville, Massachusetts, near Boston. Prosecutors said they have been in talks with his attorney to have him surrender.

Update, May 12, 8 p.m.: Brandon Bostian, 34, was charged with eight counts of involuntary manslaughter in connection with the derailment of Amtrak train 188 exactly two years ago.

Investigators found no evidence that Bostian had been on his phone at the time of the crash, or that a bullet had been fired as first reported.


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