Engineer charged in deadly Amtrak crash

Trial attorneys Thomas R. Kline, and Robert J. Mongeluzzi this evening, following the announcement by state Attorney General Josh Shapiro, endorsed his filing of several criminal charges against Amtrak Engineer Brandon Bostian, whose reckless and grossly negligent conduct caused the May 12, 2015 fatal Amtrak Train No. 188 derailment.

Judge Marsha Neifield issued the order against Brandon Bostian on Thursday, relying on a Pennsylvania law that lets courts accept private criminal complaints if district attorneys decline to prosecute.

The district attorney's office had said evidence indicated the derailment was caused by the engineer operating the train far in excess of the speed limit, but it found no evidence that he acted with criminal intent.

The district attorney has referred prosecution of the case to the Pennsylvania attorney general to avoid any apparent conflict of interest.

Train engineer Bostian told federal investigators that he had been listening to the radio and became distracted by a report about a train engineer who was sprayed with glass from a windshield that had been struck by an object.

The Amtrak complaint involves only the death of NY executive Rachel Jacobs, 39, who left behind a husband and 2-year-old son. But in a follow-up interview with NTSB investigators six months later, Bostian, who suffered a head injury during the crash, seemed to have remembered more steps he took moments before the train derailed.

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. Bostian's attorney did not return messages this week seeking comment.

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The Amtrak train bound for New York City crashed in Philadelphia, killing eight people and injuring hundreds.

Amtrak has taken responsibility for the crash and agreed to pay $265 million to settle claims filed by victims and their families. Bostian also filed suit against Amtrak in January accusing the railroad of not providing him a safe working environment.

Of the 238 passengers, eight were killed - Laura Finamore, James Gaines, Abid Gilani, Robert Gildersleeve, Derrick Griffith, Rachel Jacobs, Giuseppe Piras and Justin Zemser. Amtrak has since installed an automatic braking system on its trains in its Northeast Corridor.

Today marks the two-year anniversary of the crash.

Shapiro has expanded on charges filed a day earlier by a Philadelphia judge asked to approve a private criminal complaint sought by the family of a woman killed in the May 12, 2015, crash.

Kline spoke to Jacobs' father, John Jacobs, shortly after the charges were announced and said the man "wept at his daughter's grave tonight".

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