Ex-Amtrak Engineer Acquitted in Philadelphia Crash That Killed 8

Ex-Amtrak Engineer Acquitted in Philadelphia Crash That Killed 8

Category: Auto Accidents

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Brandon Bostian was at the controls of the train, which was speeding at more than 100 miles per hour through a curved section when it crashed, the authorities said.

A former Amtrak engineer who was operating a speeding train that derailed in Philadelphia in 2015, killing eight people, was acquitted on Friday of involuntary manslaughter and related charges.

The jury’s verdict was the culmination of a case filled with twists as the Pennsylvania attorney general’s office tried to prosecute the former engineer, Brandon Bostian, on more than 200 charges, including a count of causing a catastrophe.

Mr. Bostian was operating a Washington-to-New York train on May 12, 2015, when he sped the train to 106 miles per hour as it entered a curved section of track with a 50-m.p.h. speed limit.

The train careened off the track and into Philadelphia’s Port Richmond neighborhood. Eight people were killed, and more than 200 people were injured.

The National Transportation Safety Board identified Mr. Bostian’s actions as the probable cause of the crash and said he had lost “situational awareness” when his attention was diverted.

Mr. Bostian’s lawyer, Brian McMonagle, argued that “criminals” had been throwing stones at passenger trains in the area just before the crash and that radio broadcasts of those reports had caused Mr. Bostian to become distracted by “the madness of what was happening on the tracks.”

Mr. McMonagle said on Friday that his client had wondered for seven years whether he would ever get his life back. “Today this jury gave him his future back,” Mr. McMonagle said.

“Brandon made a mistake because of the distraction, and that’s not a crime,” he said. “I explained to the jury that good people make honest mistakes every day, and it’s not criminal conduct.”

Thomas R. Kline, a lawyer who represented some of the victims and their families, said on Friday that it was important for them to hear Mr. Bostian’s lawyer say that his client had made a mistake.

“There is evidence that he was accelerating his train going into the most dangerous curve on the Eastern corridor,” Mr. Kline said. “He was negligent, and a jury has found that it was not criminal negligence.”

Josh Shapiro, Pennsylvania’s attorney general, said in a statement on Friday that his office respected the jury’s verdict.

“There is no question that the excessive speed of the train that the defendant operated resulted in death and injury to his passengers,” the statement said. “Our goal throughout this long legal process was to seek justice for each and every victim, and help bring victims’ families and their loved ones closure.”

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See the full, original post here: https://www.nytimes.com/2022/03/04/us/brandon-bostian-acquitted-amtrak-derailment.html

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