Amtrak 188 engineer surrenders to police

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Amtrak Northeast Regional train No. 188 on the morning after the May 12, 2015 derailment and crash.
AP Photo/Patrick Semansky
PHILADELPHIA — Brandon Bostian, the 34-year-old Amtrak engineer at the center of a fatal 2015 derailment on the Northeast Corridor, turned himself into police on charges of involuntary manslaughter and reckless endangerment.

On Thursday, Bostian was led into a Philadelphia police station in handcuffs, a week after the Pennsylvania Attorney General’s Office decided to file misdemeanor criminal charges against the man for his role in the May 2015 derailment that killed eight people. According to court documents, Bostian will appear at an arraignment on June 12.

Early last week, the Philadelphia District Attorney’s office announced just hours before the statute of limitations was set to run, that they would not bring charges against Bostian. According to court records, the local district attorney believed there was “insufficient evidence and no evidence of intent” and believed that they could not win the case. But soon after, a family member of one of the passengers killed in the 2015 derailment, filed a private citizen’s complaint and a municipal judge ordered prosecutors to file criminal charges against the locomotive engineer. The Philadelphia District Attorney's office said it had a conflict of interest since it previously decided against filing charges and referred the order to the Attorney General's office.

“Bostian unlawfully and recklessly accelerated the train to a speed of 106 miles per hour, over twice the limit of which Defendant Bostian was aware,” the charging narrative states. “As he was operating the train at such a high and reckless speed, Bostian was unable to navigate the turn at Frankford Junction, causing the train to jump off the tracks and derail.”

A judge will likely set a trial date during the arraignment next month.

According to court records provided by the First Judicial District of Pennsylvania, Bostian had recently been living in Somerville, Mass. Bostian has been on leave from Amtrak since the 2015 incident.

If convicted of both involuntary manslaughter and reckless endangerment, Bostian could be sentenced up to seven years in prison.

The National Transportation Safety Board spent more than a year studying the derailment and determined that Bostian lost “situational awareness” that resulted in him inadvertently speeding the train up when he should have slowed down for a tight curve at Frankford Junction, just outside of Philadelphia. Investigators found no mechanical issues with the locomotive, train or track that was involved with the derailment.

NEWSWIRETrains News Wire

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