Tuesday, 18 December, 2018

Speeding Amtrak driver charged in 2015 crash that killed 8

Laurie Berry | 14 May, 2017, 17:35

Pennsylvania's attorney general has made a decision to bring charges against an Amtrak engineer in connection with a 2015 crash that left eight people dead and hundreds hurt in Philadelphia.

But at state level, the Pennsylvania Attorney General, Josh Shapiro, said the scope of his charges "go beyond" what was considered in the Philadelphia case.

Following the announcement, attorneys representing the family of one of those killed in the accident brought a private citizen criminal complaint against Bostian. Earlier this week, Philadelphia District Attorney Seth Williams announced that he would not press charges against Bostian because there was no evidence of criminal intent or responsibility.

Brandon Bostian has been charged with involuntary manslaughter, causing or risking a catastrophe, and "numerous" counts of reckless endangerment, prosecutors said. "It's a moment of bringing a man to task for what he did to all these families and how he did this so wrong", said Thomas R. Kline, the attorney for the victims' families.

The crash killed eight people and injured some 200 others.

The speed limit climbs from 50mph to 110mph about a mile and a half after the curve.

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Philadelphia Municipal Court President Judge Marsha Neifeld ordered Thursday for the engineer to be criminally charged.

"The National Transportation Safety Board concluded in August 2016 that Bostian likely caused the derailment, which occurred as the engineer accelerated into a curve rather than braking".

NTSB investigators say they found no evidence the Amtrak engineer was using alcohol, drugs or a cell phone.

Amtrak train 188 was on its way from Washington to NY on 12 May 2015 when it came off the track in the city of Philadelphia.

"Bostian was an experienced engineer who was aware of the route and the fact that there were speed limits throughout the route", reads the police criminal complaint filed by Shapiro's office. The company has since installed positive train control systems in its trains, which automatically slow a speeding train. The crash was two years ago today. As NPR's Merrit Kennedy reported in October, a federal judge approved a $265 million settlement between Amtrak and people affected by the crash.

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