Speeding Amtrak engineer charged in 2015 crash that killed 8

Tammy Harvey
May 13, 2017

The engineer in a deadly 2015 Amtrak train crash in Philadelphia could be charged by the Pennsylvania attorney general as soon as Friday even though local prosecutors had cleared him of criminal wrongdoing earlier in the week.

The chain of events leading to Shapiro's announcement, contained in a short statement, began Thursday, when Municipal Court President Judge Marsha Neifield effectively overturned a decision by the Philadelphia District Attorney's Office not to prosecute Brandon Bostian.

The state's top prosecutor on Friday charged a speeding Amtrak engineer with causing a catastrophe, involuntary manslaughter and other crimes in a 2015 derailment that came after he accelerated to 106 miles per hour on a 50 miles per hour curve.

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 case was referred to the office of Attorney General Josh Shapiro, who can either decide to comply with the order and charge Bostian or appeal it to the state Superior Court.

"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.

Bostian, 34, of Forest Hills, New York, is charged with eight counts of involuntary manslaughter in the crash that killed eight people and injured about 200 others.

Investigators with the National Transportation Safety Board said Bostian accelerated to full-throttle as the New York-bound train traversed a straightaway through North Philadelphia.

"All Pennsylvanians should be grateful that there is an Attorney General willing to do what is right and just to hold Engineer Bostian accountable for his reckless conduct", attorney Thomas R. Kline said on behalf of the Jacobs family and the families of the other victims. A judge says Bostian lives in MA.

Train engineer Bostian told federal investigators that he had been listening to the radio and became distracted by a report about a train engineer who was sprayed with glass from a windshield that had been struck by an object.

Of the 238 passengers, eight were killed - Laura Finamore, James Gaines, Abid Gilani, Robert Gildersleeve, Derrick Griffith, Rachel Jacobs, Giuseppe Piras and Justin Zemser.

Bostian has not spoken publicly about the derailment in the two years since. Called Positive Train Control, the system will automatically slow a train that is speeding.

Kline spoke to Jacobs' father, John Jacobs, shortly after the charges were announced and said the man "wept at his daughter's grave tonight".

Other reports by Ligue1talk

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