Judge Orders Criminal Charge in PA Amtrak Derailment

Charges coming for Amtrak operator in deadly derailment

Judge orders Bartlett engineer blamed for fatal train crash to face charges

The case was transferred to the Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro's office on Thursday after Philadelphia Municipal Court President Judge Marsha Neifield ordered a private criminal complaint could move forward.

Earlier this week, the Office of Philadelphia District Attorney Seth Williams announced that it would not charge Bostian, the train's engineer, despite saying that Bostian was operating the train at an unsafe speed.

Attorney Kline and Mongeluzzi noted that Shapiro's office charged Bostian with the same crimes that the Philadelphia District Attorney declined to prosecute.

"We've received the referral from the Philadelphia District Attorney's Office and are carefully reviewing this important matter", Joe Grace, a spokesman for the state attorney general's office, said on Friday.

Federal investigators concluded Bostian lost track of his location before the 2015 crash after learning a nearby commuter train had been struck with a rock.

Neither the attorneys nor the DA's office returned calls requesting comment. When the direct result of reckless or negligent behavior, involuntary manslaughter is a first-degree misdemeanor punishable by two-and-a-half to five years in prison per charge.

Lawyers for the family of a NY woman killed in the crash obtained a private criminal complaint from a city judge after Philadelphia prosecutors this week announced they would not pursue charges.

A state law allows private criminal complaints to be submitted to the judiciary, essentially circumventing the DA's conclusion. The speed limit climbs from 50 miles per hour to 110 miles per hour about a mile and a half after the curve. A Philadelphia judge has ordered prosecutors to criminally charge speeding Amtrak engineer Brandon Bostian.

"This was something that never had to happen", survivor Robert Hewitt, of Nutley, New Jersey, told the Associated Press on the 1st anniversary of the crash past year.

"We can not conclude that the evidence rises to the high level necessary to charge the engineer or anyone else with a criminal offense", the District Attorney's Office said Tuesday in an unsigned statement. Bostian has said he had no recollection of the incident; he did not have drugs or alcohol in his system, nor was he using a cellphone at the time of the derailment.

The family of a NY woman who was killed sought the criminal complaint after city prosecutors declined to press charges.

But Mongeluzzi said that should be an issue for a jury. A Naval Academy midshipman and a man from Howard County were among the dead.

This portion of track was not equipped with positive train control or even a less technologically-advanced piece of equipment that could have prevented the train from traveling at such a speed.

Latest News