Amtrak Engineer To Go on Trial Next September

An Amtrak locomotive engineer will go on trial in September 2019 on criminal charges stemming from a derailment near Philadelphia in May 2015 that left eight dead and more than 200 injured.

Brandon Bostian initially was charged with involuntary manslaughter and reckless endangerment but in 2017 a judge dismissed the case, saying it was an accident, not a criminal act.

Prosecutors appealed that ruling and won a subsequent court decree that there was enough evidence to go to trial.

The derailment occurred on the Northeast Corridor in the Port Richmond area of Philadelphia at Frankford Junction when Amtrak Train No. 188 entered a 50-mph speed restriction on a curve while traveling 102 mph.

The National Transportation Safety Board said Bostian lost situational awareness after being distracted by radio transmissions and failed to slow his train in time to avoid the derailment.

The radio traffic spoke about rocks being thrown at a SETPA train.

The NTSB said the derailment could have been prevented had positive train control been in operation at that location.

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