Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro has brought criminal charges against the engineer who was operating Amtrak 188 when it derailed, killing eight people and injuring over 200 two years ago.
Brandon Bostian faces eight counts of involuntary manslaughter and other crimes including causing a catastrophe and reckless endangerment. Federal investigators determined that Bostian allowed the train to speed up to 106 mph in a curve suitable for only half of that speed.
The charges come after a dramatic turn of legal events. Earlier this week, Philadelphia District Attorney Seth Williams announced that he would not press charges against Bostian because there was no evidence of criminal intent or responsibility.
But Philadelphia Municipal Court President Judge Marsha Neifield ordered the district attorney to charge Bostian at the urging of attorneys representing dozens of the victims. 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.” So the DA referred the case to the state attorney general who filed charges.
Amtrak 188, originating in Washington, D.C., was bound for New York. Bostian was an experienced engineer. The investigation found no evidence that alcohol or drugs were involved. The engineer told investigators that he recalled very little about the crash.
The charges against him were filed just a few hours before the statute of limitations was set to expire.