Charges Dismissed Again in Deadly Philadelphia Amtrak Crash

Charges Dismissed Again in Deadly Philadelphia Amtrak Crash
Brandon Bostian, the engineer involved in the 2015 Amtrak derailment in Philadelphia that that left eight people dead and about 200 injured, departs from the center for criminal justice in Philadelphia, in this Dec. 20, 2017. (Matt Rourke, File/AP Photo)

PHILADELPHIA—For the second time, a Philadelphia judge dismissed all charges on July 23 against an Amtrak engineer in a high-speed derailment in Philadelphia that killed eight and injured about 200 people.

The decision followed defense arguments that any mistakes made by Brandon Bostian do not amount to crimes.

“The law recognizes we’re all human,” Common Pleas Judge Barbara McDermott said in tossing the involuntary manslaughter and reckless endangerment charges, the Philadelphia Inquirer reported.

Two judges and the city’s district attorney have now concluded that no criminal charges should be filed against Bostian in the 2015 derailment.

The state attorney general’s office, which has pursued the case, will appeal, said spokeswoman Jacklin Rhoades.

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) found that the New York-bound train derailed as it rounded a curve at more than twice the 50 mph speed limit.

NTSB investigators concluded that Bostian lost his bearings while distracted by radio chatter about a nearby train that was struck by a rock. They found no evidence he was impaired or using a cellphone.

NTD Photo
In this May 13, 2015, file photo, emergency personnel work near the wreckage of a New York City-bound Amtrak passenger train following a derailment that killed eight people and injured about 200 others in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky, File)

“We don’t lock up doctors when they commit malpractice and they make a mistake,” defense lawyer Brian McMonagle told The Associated Press. “She (the judge) did the right thing.”

Bostian will remain free on unsecured bond for 30 days to give prosecutors time to file an appeal, McMonagle said.

Amtrak has taken responsibility for the crash, having agreed to pay $265 million to settle civil claims filed by victims and their families.

“It’s a very big disappointment to the families who have been waiting for some measure of public accountability and justice,” attorney Thomas R. Kline, who represents two of the families, said of the latest ruling. “We are hopeful that that day will come after appellate review and hopeful for a reversal of today’s decision.”

Since the accident, the railroad has installed positive-train control technology that can automatically slow or stop a speeding train on its track from Boston to Washington.

The state Attorney General’s Office had filed charges after the Philadelphia District Attorney declined the case.

ntd newsletter icon
Sign up for NTD Daily
What you need to know, summarized in one email.
Stay informed with accurate news you can trust.
By registering for the newsletter, you agree to the Privacy Policy.