Posts Tagged ‘Amtrak 188’

Court Rules Amtrak Engineer Can be Tried on Charges Stemming From Fatal Derailment

May 15, 2020

A Pennsylvania appeals court has ruled that an Amtrak locomotive engineer involved in a 2015 derailment that left eight dead can be tried criminally for the deaths and injuries.

Charges against Brandon Bostian had been dismissed last July but a state Superior Court Judge on Thursday ruled that that dismissal was based on fact-finding that should happen during a trial.

A Common Pleas Court judge last year ruled Bostian’s behavior before the crash did not rise to criminal recklessness.

The trial court judge had accepted a contention by the defendant’s attorney that Bostian had become confused about where he was when he accelerated the speed of his train without realizing a curve was ahead of him.

However, Superior Court Judge Victor Stabile said that contention should be evaluated in a trial, not by a judge in a pretrial hearing.

Stabile ruled that a trial court judge’s role in a pre-trial proceeding is to determine whether the state presented enough evidence to warrant a trial.

The appeals court judge ruled that prosecutors had met that burden.

An attorney for Bostian said he would appeal the ruling enabling his client to go to trial on criminal charges.

Investigators have said Northeast Regional No. 188 was traveling at 106 mph, more than twice the posted speed limit, into a curve in Port Richmond north of Philadelphia’s 30th Street Station.

The subsequent derailment resulted in more than 150 injuries.

The Pennsylvania Attorney General has filed 216 counts of reckless endangerment, one count of causing a catastrophe, and eight counts of involuntary manslaughter against Bostian. Stabile’s ruling reinstates those charges.

The National Transportation Safety Board report on the derailment said Bostian had no alcohol or drugs in his system and was not using his cell phone at the time of the derailment.

The Amtrak engineer told NTSB investigators that he couldn’t remember why he didn’t slow the train as it approached the curve.

Amtrak Engineer To Go on Trial Next September

December 22, 2018

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.