Pennsylvania judge orders charges leveled at Amtrak 188 engineer

Reversal from district attorney's decision this week means Brandon Bostian could stand trial for May 2015 crash
RELATED TOPICS: EAST | DERAILMENTS/WRECKS | SAFETY | CRIME | AMTRAK
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PHILADELPHIA — Officials with Pennsylvania's attorney general's office say they're now reviewing a judge's order to level criminal charges against Brandon Bostian, engineer of the ill-fated Amtrak Northeast Regional train 188 that crashed in May 2015, killing eight passengers.

Philly.com and National Public Radio are reporting that an attorney representing a family of a 188 victim filed a private criminal complaint with Philadelphia's municipal court. Philly.com reporters write that the judge accepted the complaint and ordered the Philadelphia district attorney's office to charge Bostian with involuntary manslaughter and reckless endangerment.

The order on Thursday comes two days after the DA's office declined to prosecute Bostian for lack of evidence of a crime. News outlets report that the Philadelphia's district attorney referred the order to the attorney general's office to avoid any potential conflict of interest.

National Transportation Safety Board investigators found no mechanical issues with the train, track conditions, or other external factors to explain the accident that happened two years ago today, May 12, 2015, at Frankford Junction in Philadelphia. Neither did they find evidence of fatigue, drug or alcohol use, cell phone use, nor other impairments involving the train’s operator.

Bostian previously told NTSB investigators that he accelerated on the 80-mph straightaway after North Philadelphia. The engineer says he could not remember what happened just before Frankford Junction. However, he clearly remembered radio transmissions between a Northeast Corridor dispatcher and the engineer of a Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority train.

Investigators say it was likely those conversations about objects being thrown at SEPTA trains that may have distracted Bostian long enough for the crash to occur.

NEWSWIRETrains News Wire

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