Amtrak Engineer Charged In Deadly 2015 Philadelphia Train Crash

Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro has brought criminal charges against the engineer who was operating Amtrak 188 when it derailed, killing eight people and injuring over 200 two years ago.

Shapiro expanded on charges a Philadelphia judge approved one day earlier.

The Amtrak engineer behind the Philadelphia train derailment in 2015 that killed eight people was charged with multiple counts of involuntary manslaughter, prosecutors announced Friday.

On Tuesday, the city district attorney's office said no charges would be filed against Bostian because it could not be proven that the engineer acted with "conscious disregard" when he accelerated.

But Philadelphia Municipal Court President Judge Marsha Neifield ordered the district attorney to charge Bostian at the urging of attorneys representing dozens of the victims.

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

In addition to the eight people killed, more than 200 people were injured in the crash.

The state prosecutor could arrest engineer Brandon Bostian, seek to dismiss the case, appeal or ask the city judge to reconsider her ruling, Temple University law professor Jules Epstein said.

Philadelphia prosecutors had declined to press criminal charges as Friday's two-year deadline approached.

Though the National Transportation Safety Board had previously ruled that the derailment was caused by Bostian, of NY, when he lost "situational awareness" due to being distracted by the radio, the DA's office found on Tuesday that there was not enough "evidence sufficient to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the engineer "consciously" disregarded the risk" of an imminent crash. Kline and attorney Robert Mongeluzzi, who helped negotiate the settlement, announced the judge's order late Thursday. He had heard through radio traffic that a nearby commuter train had been struck by a rock. Bostian was an experienced engineer.

Emergency personnel work near the wreckage of the New York City-bound Amtrak passenger train following the May 13, 2015, derailment in Philadelphia. The automated system notifies an engineer if the train is speeding and applies the brakes automatically if the engineer does not respond.

Other lawyers have called last year's NTSB report on the crash a "whitewash" and a 'quantum leap'. Prosecutors, in response, said they had insufficient evidence of criminal intent or recklessness.

The family of technology company CEO Rachel Jacobs, 39, pressed to bring charges against Bostian.

A lawyer for a crash victim's family said he was baffled by the DA's decision to spare Brendan Bostian, 34, who was at the controls when the train derailed.

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  • Annette Adams