Engineer charged in deadly Amtrak crash

  • Engineer charged in deadly Amtrak crash

Engineer charged in deadly Amtrak crash

A judge has ordered prosecutors to reverse course and charge an Amtrak engineer with involuntary manslaughter, in the 2015 crash that left eight people dead in Philadelphia.

Shapiro has expanded on charges filed a day earlier by a Philadelphia judge asked to approve a private criminal complaint sought by the family of a woman killed in the May 12, 2015, crash.

Bostian faces eight counts of involuntary manslaughter, one count of causing or risking a catastrophe and numerous counts of reckless endangerment.

The city has since referred the prosecution to the state attorney general, in order to avoid any conflict of interest.

This story has been corrected to show the attorney general's office, not the district attorney's office, is reviewing the judge's order. In announcing Tuesday that it would not charge Bostian, the District Attorney's Office said there was not enough evidence to establish criminal responsibility.

Bostian did not return calls for comment.

Federal investigators have already concluded that the engineer was to blame after he got distracted by radio chatter and inattentively rounded a 50 miles per hour curve at more than 100 miles per hour, killing eight people and injuring 200 on May 12, 2015. However, federal safety investigators concluded that nothing struck the train prior to it crashing. They found no evidence he was under the influence of drugs or alcohol or distracted by a cellphone.

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court established the standard for proving criminal negligence in Commonwealth v. Huggins, a 2003 decision involving criminal involuntary manslaughter charges against a man who fell asleep at the wheel of his van, which was carrying 21 children and three adults, many not wearing seat belts.

Today marks the two-year anniversary of the crash. Neifield issued the reversal after lawyers of victims requested a reopening of the case.

"The private complaint mechanism exists for cases where the police can't make an arrest and, arguably, for cases where they won't but they should", said Jules Epstein, a Temple University law professor. Judge Marsha Neifield, president of the city's municipal court, signed the complaint. Bostian also filed suit against Amtrak in January accusing the railroad of not providing him a safe working environment.

"If we are to let operators off the hook with the mere claim of not having memory, then it invites every single one of them to do it", Mongeluzzi said at a Thursday press conference.

Since the derailment, Amtrak has installed automatic-braking technology known as positive train control, which was not installed at the time of the incident. Our role as an independent, fact-based news organization has never been clearer. You have encouraged us in our mission - to provide quality news and watchdog journalism.