U.S.

Judge finds probable cause to charge Amtrak engineer in fatal derailment

Judge finds probable cause to charge Amtrak engineer in fatal derailment

Criminal charges have been filed against the engineer behind a deadly Amtrak train crash on the Northeast Corridor in Philadelphia two years ago.

In a statement, Cameron Kline, a spokesman for the district attorney's office, said the matter has been referred to the Pennsylvania attorney general's office to "avoid the potential for any apparent conflict of interest".

Shapiro added that the charges included eight counts of involuntary manslaughter, one count of causing or risking a catastrophe and numerous counts of reckless endangerment.

A lawyer for a crash victim's family said he was baffled by the DA's decision to spare Brendan Bostian, 34, who was at the controls when the train derailed.

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The crash killed eight people and injured some 200 others.

Philadelphia prosecutors had earlier declined to charge Bostian, citing insufficient evidence that he acted with intent or conscious disregard for the passengers' safety.

Federal investigators concluded that Bostian lost track of his location, or "situational awareness", before the crash after learning that a nearby SEPTA commuter train had been struck with a rock. Kline represents the family of the NY victim, Rachel Jacobs, a 39-year-old technology executive, wife and mother. However, the National Transportation Safety Board concluded that nothing struck his locomotive.

Attorneys Thomas Kline, left, Richard Sprague and Robert Mongeluzzi take part in a news conference while standing next to a photo of train engineer Brandon Bostian in Philadelphia, Thursday, May 11, 2017.




State prosecutors can choose to pursue the case - or they can fight the judge's order by appealing to Superior Court.

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.

Amtrak has already taken civil responsibility for the crash and agreed to pay $265 million in claims.

The lawyer said he was baffled by the DA's decision to spare Bostian.

A two-year investigation by the DA's office found that Bostian's speeding caused the train to derail, killing eight people and injuring more than 200 others. Bostian has said he had no recollection of the incident; he did not have drugs or alcohol in his system, nor was he using a cellphone at the time of the derailment.

Kline and attorney Robert Mongeluzzi represent 32 victims in ongoing litigation against Amtrak.

Private criminal complaints are occasionally used in low-level crimes not witnessed by police or, sometimes, when charges are not filed for political reasons, experts said.

The family of technology company CEO Rachel Jacobs, 39, pressed to bring charges against Bostian.


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