Published: Sat, May 13, 2017
USA | By Yvette Dunn

Judge orders Bartlett engineer blamed for fatal train crash to face charges


"We can not conclude that the evidence rises to the high level necessary to charge the engineer or anyone else with a criminal offense", the District Attorney's Office said Tuesday in an unsigned statement.

In addition to eight counts of involuntary manslaughter, former Amtrak engineer Brandon Bostian was charged with one count of causing or risking a catastrophe and numerous counts of reckless endangerment, according to Shapiro's statement.

Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro expanded on charges a Philadelphia judge approved a day earlier after the family of a woman killed in the crash sought a private criminal complaint.

"The action by the Attorney General's Office, which includes eight counts of involuntary manslaughter, is the correct course, and it is in the best interest of the public to hold Mr. Brandon Bostian accountable", said Thomas R. Kline, one of several lawyers who pressed Neifield to authorize charges against Bostian.

Federal investigators concluded Bostian lost track of his location before the 2015 crash after learning a nearby commuter train had been struck with a rock. In view of our earlier decision not to file charges, we have referred this prosecution to the Pennsylvania attorney general.

Federal investigators have already concluded that the engineer was to blame after he got distracted by radio chatter and inattentively rounded a 50 miles per hour curve at more than 100 miles per hour, killing eight people and injuring 200 on May 12, 2015. The judge ordered city prosecutors to charge Bostian with two misdemeanors over Rachel Jacobs' death in the May 12, 2015, derailment.

Bostian's lawyer has not returned messages this week about the case.

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However, the Philadelphia's district attorney's office determined that the evidence did not rise to the necessary level needed to charge the engineer or anyone else with a crime.

The NTSB said there was no evidence of drugs or alcohol in Bostian's system.

A Philadelphia judge ordered the arrest of the Amtrak engineer aboard a 2015 derailment in which eight people died and hundreds were injured.

Bostian has told investigators that he does not remember much about the moments before the wreck.

The NTSB said it found no evidence that Bostian was impaired or using a cellphone during the Washington-to-New York run. Investigators say seven to nine of those minutes the engineer was listening to and participating in the radio conversations regarding other trains being hit with a projectile. Called Positive Train Control, the system will automatically slow a train that is speeding.

Sprague sought the order along with plaintiffs' lawyers Kline and Robert Mongeluzzi, who represent dozens of victims in lawsuits against Amtrak. The NTSB has said had that equipment been installed the accident would not have happened.

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