Charges dropped against Amtrak engineer in deadly derailment case

Washington Examiner

A judge on Tuesday dropped charges that included involuntary manslaughter and reckless endangerment against an Amtrak engineer involved in a 2015 crash that killed eight people.

Brandon Bostian’s Washington-to-New York train rounded a curve at 106 miles per hour, more than twice the legal limit, and careened off the tracks that hit cars and hurled passengers into the woods, injuring nearly 200 people.

Judge Thomas Gehret decided after a preliminary hearing Tuesday that there was a lack of evidence in a case that prosecutors initially did not want to pursue.

Bostian was charged by Pennsylvania’s attorney general after Philadelphia prosecutors decided against pressing charges because they felt the case lacked sufficient evidence to merit a conviction.

Gehret said the evidence offered by prosecutors led him to believe that the wreck was “more likely an accident than criminal negligence.”

An assessment by the National Transportation Safety Board concluded last year that the crash resulted from Bostian being distracted by word that a nearby train had been hit by a rock. They also found that he was not under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

“We’re elated with this result because it’s the right result,” Bostian’s lawyer Brian McMonagle told reporters outside the courthouse.

Bostian was suspended without pay for operating his train above the legal speed limit.

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