Published: Sat, May 13, 2017
U.S. | By Vera Richards

Engineer charged in deadly Amtrak crash

Engineer charged in deadly Amtrak crash

Bostian was at the controls of an Amtrak train that derailed in Philadelphia in 2015, killing eight people and injuring about 200 others.

A Philadelphia municipal court judge ordered the charges of involuntary manslaughter and reckless endangerment against former Amtrak engineer Brandon Bostian to be revived on Thursday.

Epstein says state Attorney General Josh Shapiro could also negotiate a plea or take time to evaluate the case. His lawyer has rarely commented and did not return a message Tuesday left by The Associated Press. "In view of our earlier decision not to file charges, we have referred this prosecution to the Pennsylvania attorney general", it read.

An earlier story appears below.

A Philadelphia judge has ordered prosecutors to file charges against the driver in the 2015 Amtrak derailment - just days after the Philadelphia District Attorney's Office said it would not do so.

The Philadelphia District Attorney's Office had announced Tuesday, as the two-year deadline to bring charges loomed Friday, that it couldn't prove Bostian acted with "conscious disregard" when he accelerated the train to 106 miles per hour on a 50 miles per hour curve.

The district attorney says there was no evidence Bostian acted with criminal "intent" or criminal "knowledge".

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Legal experts said a judge upholding a private citizen complaint after the district attorney's office declined to charge is unusual but not unheard of; a more surprising outcome, they said, would be the attorney general's office deciding to prosecute Bostian.

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court established the standard for proving criminal negligence in Commonwealth v. Huggins, a 2003 decision involving criminal involuntary manslaughter charges against a man who fell asleep at the wheel of his van, which was carrying 21 children and three adults, many not wearing seat belts.

In response, attorneys filed a private complaint on behalf of the father of one of the victims.

Last year, the NTSB released its investigation into the crash and ruled Bostian was partially at fault, though he was not found to be sleepy, operating his cell phone or under the influence of any drugs or alcohol. 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.

The train had left Philadelphia minutes before, heading toward NY.

"There is a longing for accountability when you are disabled and in excruciating pain every day", Mongeluzzi said.

Amtrak has taken responsibility for the crash and agreed to pay $265 million to settle claims filed by victims and their families. The automated system notifies an engineer if the train is speeding and applies the brakes automatically if the engineer does not respond.

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