Engineer in deadly Philadelphia Amtrak crash could still be charged

Marcus Newton
May 13, 2017

Bostian's attorney hasn't returned a call seeking comment. Per Pennsylvania law, involuntary manslaughter when it was a direct result of reckless or negligent behavior is a first-degree misdemeanor punishable by two-and-a-half to five years in prison per charge. 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.

"This was something that never had to happen", survivor Robert Hewitt, of Nutley, New Jersey, told the Associated Press on the 1st anniversary of the crash past year.

Philadelphia District Attorney Seth Williams previously declined to file charges against the engineer.

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.

A 39-year-old tech CEO and mother of one, Jacobs had been one of eight passengers killed when an Amtrak bound for New York City crashed on May 12, 2015.

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.

"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.

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"I commend our outstanding team in the office of attorney general who worked diligently and thoughtfully around the clock to enable us to be in this position to pursue justice on behalf of the victims of this deadly crash", Shapiro said.

Court records list addresses for Bostian in New York City and in Somerville, Mass., near Boston.

A federal judge in October approved a record $265 million settlement for the accident victims.

Since the derailment, Amtrak has installed automatic-braking technology known as positive train control, which was not installed at the time of the incident.

"The evidence indicates that the derailment was caused by the engineer operating the train far in excess of the speed limit".

The judge's unusual order came a day before Friday's two-year deadline to file charges in the May 12, 2015, crash that killed eight. The Inquirer also reported that while it's uncommon for a judge to overrule the DA's office, it isn't unprecedented. "Here is a woman who died and nobody's being punished", the father, John Jacobs, told The Associated Press this week.

Other reports by MaliBehiribAe

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