Scholar: Options remain after order to charge train engineer

In this aerial photo, emergency personnel work at the scene of a passenger train wreck in Philadelphia on Wednesday, May 13, 2015.

Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro expanded on charges a Philadelphia judge approved a day earlier after the family of a woman killed in the crash sought a private criminal complaint.

The Amtrak engineer behind the Philadelphia train derailment in 2015 that killed eight people was charged with multiple counts of involuntary manslaughter, prosecutors announced Friday.

In addition to eight counts of involuntary manslaughter, former Amtrak engineer Brandon Bostian was charged with one count of causing or risking a catastrophe and numerous counts of reckless endangerment, according to Shapiro's statement.

Though the National Transportation Safety Board had previously ruled that the derailment was caused by Bostian, of NY, when he lost "situational awareness" due to being distracted by the radio, the DA's office found on Tuesday that there was not enough "evidence sufficient to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the engineer "consciously" disregarded the risk" of an imminent crash.

Philadelphia prosecutors released a statement Thursday indicating that they will refer Bostian's prosecution to the state's attorney general to avoid a conflict of interest.

The criminal case is sure to bring new scrutiny to the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) finding that Bostian had lost "situational awareness" on the curve in North Philadelphia.

The judge also ordered the filing of two private criminal complaints against him. Brandon Bostian, the engineer, is a Memphis native who attended Bartlett High School. 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.

Kline and attorney Robert Mongeluzzi represent 32 victims in ongoing litigation against Amtrak, which has declined to comment to CNN. In announcing Tuesday that it would not charge Bostian, the District Attorney's Office said there was not enough evidence to establish criminal responsibility.

The train had left Philadelphia minutes before, heading toward NY. Investigators say seven to nine of those minutes the engineer was listening to and participating in the radio conversations regarding other trains being hit with a projectile.

Federal investigators looking into the crash said the train was speeding at 106 miles per hour before it derailed along a curve meant to be traveled at 50 miles per hour. A Naval Academy midshipman and a man from Howard County were among the dead.

The section of track where the train derailed was not equipped with safety equipment called automatic train control.

Amtrak has since installed that speed control along the section of track where the derailment occurred.



Latest news

Magic won't get to interview Markelle Fultz at NBA Draft Combine
Sixty-seven draft prospects will participate in various physical measurements, drills and 5-on-5 scrimmages in the next few days. Fultz averaged 23.2 points, 5.7 rebounds and 5.9 assists per game as Washington's starting point guard this past season.

Chrystia Freeland Praises Rex Tillerson's Work On Arctic Climate Change Declaration
The United State chaired the council for the last two years and turned the chairmanship over to Finland on Thursday. Tillerson signed the document. "We're going to work to make the right decision for the United States".

Djokovic eases into quarter-finals of Madrid Open
The world No. 59 has had a solid clay-court season so far, winning his first career singles title in Marrakech last month. David Goffin awaits the victor of that clash after the Belgian beat world number six Milos Raonic 64, 62.

Rooney previews United v Celta Vigo
You think I enjoy a big club like Arsenal not winning big trophies? No problems. When asked if he wanted to do it at United, he responded: "Of course".

Other news