Charges reinstated against Amtrak 188 engineer

News Wire Digest for May 18: Oklahoma House passes resolution calling for Heartland Flyer extension; Minnesota transit agency adds mask requirement for passengers
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Members of the National Transportation Safety Board examine the wreckage of Amtrak train No. 188 in 2015. Criminal charges against the train's engineer, which have been dropped twice, have been reinstated.
National Transportation Safety Board

Monday morning rail news in brief:

Criminal charges have been reinstated against Brian Bostian, the latest twist in the legal saga of the engineer who was at the controls for the fatal Philadelphia derailment of Amtrak train No. 188 in 2015. Charges against Bostian were dropped for the second time in July 2019 when a judge said his actions did not rise to the level of criminal recklessness [see “Charges against Amtrak 188 engineer again dropped,” Trains News Wire, July 23, 2019], but on Thursday, Pennsylvania Superior Court Judge Victor Stabile said the judge who issued the prior ruling improperly considered evidence that should be litigated at trial. The New York Times reports that Pennsylvania’s attorney general issued a statement saying the judge “ruled the Attorney General can move forward in our work to deliver justice,” while Bostian’s lawyer said, “This was an accident and not a crime, and we will appeal.”

— The Oklahoma House of Representatives has unanimously approved a resolution supporting the extension of Amtrak’s Heartland Flyer from Oklahoma City to Newton, Kan. The Ponca City (Okla.) News reports House Resolution 1036 also requests that the state’s Congressional delegation take action to secure federal funding for the project. In a joint statement, two of the measure’s sponsors, Ken Luttrell (R-Ponca City) and Garry Mize (R-Guthrie) said citizens in their districts “find themselves in a transportation desert, with no access to air, bus or rail travel … Passenger rail service from Oklahoma City to Newton, Kan., is vitally important to our communities for transportation, tourism and economic development.”

— As of today, Metro Transit in Minneapolis-St. Paul is joining the large number of transit agencies requiring passengers to wear face coverings. A spokesman told the Twin Cities Pioneer Press that the agency would not deny service to those who do not comply, but that the agency believes passengers “are going to take this requirement seriously on their own.” Metro Transit remains on a reduced-service schedule, even though Minnesota’s stay-at-home order expires today.


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