Speeding Amtrak engineer charged in 2015 crash that killed 8


Speeding Amtrak engineer charged in 2015 crash that killed 8

Pennsylvania's top prosecutor on Friday filed criminal charges against the Amtrak engineer involved in a deadly 2015 derailment.

Under state law, Friday marks the two-year deadline to charge Bostian in the May 12, 2015, crash, which killed eight people and injured more than 180.

The judge had signed off on two misdemeanor charges over Rachel Jacobs' death in the May 12, 2015, derailment.

The order came one day before the statute of limitations on reckless endangerment in the case was to expire.

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.

"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.

Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro said in a statement that Bostian, 34, will face eight counts of involuntary manslaughter, one count of causing or risking a catastrophe and numerous counts of reckless endangerment. The Inquirer also reported that while it's uncommon for a judge to overrule the DA's office, it isn't unprecedented. The district attorney's office declined to accept a criminal complaint from relatives of a person who died in the derailment, setting the scene for the hearing before Neifield. Her father, a MI lawyer, had urged Williams to press charges. The investigation found no evidence that alcohol or drugs were involved.

Bostian claimed something had struck his train, possibly a thrown rock, and he was unable to recall the moments just before the derailment. Amtrak 188 sped up to 106 m.p.h. around the curve.

The section of track where the train derailed was not equipped with safety equipment called automatic train control. Bostian's lawyer hasn't returned messages seeking comment this week. And as part of those interviews, his story changed.

The report said Mr Bostian was distracted by radio communications about another train driver whose train had been hit by an object. However, federal safety investigators concluded that nothing struck the train prior to it crashing.

"I couldn't say with certainty that my memory is accurate", he told investigators in November.

Victims' lawyers have questioned why Bostian would have sped up, rather than slow down, if he had been startled by something striking the train.