Published: Sat, May 13, 2017
Culture | By Henry Herrera

Speeding Amtrak engineer charged in 2015 crash that killed 8

Charges have been ordered for the absentminded Amtrak engineer who was responsible for the deadly 2015 derailment in Philadelphia.

At the time the train derailed in Philadelphia, according to the findings of the National Transportation Safety Board, it was going 106 miles per hour on a curve with a posted speed limit of 50 miles per hour.

Just days after the Philadelphia district attorney's office said the Amtrak engineer involved in a derailment that killed eight people and injured about 200 others wouldn't face criminal charges, a judge has ordered the office to bring charges.

The DA's office said it will refer prosecution of the involuntary manslaughter and reckless endangerment charges to the state attorney general to avoid any possible conflict of interest.

This story has been corrected to show the attorney general's office, not the district attorney's office, is reviewing the judge's order.

The National Transportation Safety Board found that Bostian lost "situational awareness" on May 12, 2015, before he lost control of the train that flew off the tracks around a tight curve.

"His actions could have been easily prevented".

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"Yet prosecutors say they have 'no evidence that the engineer acted with criminal "intent" or criminal "knowledge", ' and they do not believe there's enough evidence to prove that Bostian acted with 'criminal recklessness'". Bostian likely was distracted by reports that someone had thrown rocks at a nearby SEPTA train and became disoriented about where he was, the NTSB said.

He also is charged with eight counts on involuntary manslaughter, a first-degree misdemeanor, and "numerous" charges of reckless endangerment, a second-degree misdemeanor, Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro said Friday.

Sprague sought the order along with plaintiffs' lawyers Kline and Robert Mongeluzzi, who represent dozens of victims in lawsuits against Amtrak. Bostian told investigators he blacked out and couldn't remember the moments leading up to the crash.

Epstein said private criminal complaints are often used in low-level crimes not witnessed by police or, sometimes, when charges are not filed for political reasons.

But Mongeluzzi said that should be an issue for a jury.

Court records list addresses for Bostian in New York City and in Somerville, Massachusetts, near Boston.

However, the NTSB concluded that nothing struck his locomotive and victims' lawyers had questioned why Bostian would have sped up, rather than slow down, if he had been startled by something striking the train. Kline represents the family of the NY victim, Rachel Jacobs, a technology executive, wife and mother. The other people killed included Justin Zemser, a Naval Academy midshipman; Jim Gaines, an Associated Press software architect; and Derrick Griffith, a college dean.

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