Saturday, 18 November, 2017

Engineer charged in deadly Amtrak crash

Attorneys Thomas Kline left Richard Sprague and Robert Mongeluzzi take part in a news conference while standing next to LinkedIn via CNN
Craig Ferguson | 13 May, 2017, 09:36

The Bartlett native blamed for crashing an Amtrak that killed eight people and injured hundreds more will now face charges.

In particular, prosecutors said, there is not enough evidence to prove to a jury beyond a reasonable doubt that when Bostian sped into the Frankford Junction curve, he was consciously ignoring the risk of the action. The DA's office issued a statement saying since it had already decided not to charge Bostian it wanted to avoid "any apparent 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.

Bostian's lawyer has not returned messages this week about the case. Judge Marsha Neifield ruled in their favor, ordering the district attorney to charge Bostian with involuntary manslaughter and reckless endangerment.

On Tuesday, the city district attorney's office said no charges would be filed against Bostian because it could not be proven that the engineer acted with "conscious disregard" when he accelerated.

"All we asked the district attorney's office to do was hold accountable a locomotive engineer who was traveling twice the allowable speed - 106 miles per hour".

Federal investigators said they found no evidence Bostian was under the influence of alcohol or drugs or that he had been using a cellphone at the time of the May 12, 2015, derailment of Amtrak train 188, en route from Washington to NY.

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In a statement Thursday afternoon, Cameron L. Kline, communications director for the District Attorney's Office, said: "President Judge Neifield has ordered the filing of two private criminal complaints as a result of the Amtrak train 188 derailment".

The NTSB said there was no evidence of drugs or alcohol in Bostian's system.

Of the 238 passengers, eight were killed - Laura Finamore, James Gaines, Abid Gilani, Robert Gildersleeve, Derrick Griffith, Rachel Jacobs, Giuseppe Piras and Justin Zemser.

Epstein said private criminal complaints are often used in low-level crimes not witnessed by police or, sometimes, when charges are not filed for political reasons. Bostian likely was distracted by reports that someone had thrown rocks at a nearby SEPTA train and became disoriented about where he was, the NTSB said.

"There is a longing for accountability when you are disabled and in excruciating pain every day", Mongeluzzi said.

"Three days ago, the victims of Amtrak Train 188 felt that justice was derailed, and today they feel that justice is back on track".

A federal judge in October approved a record $265 million settlement for the accident victims. The automated system notifies an engineer if the train is speeding and applies the brakes automatically if the engineer does not respond.

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