BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Philadelphia prosecutors say the speeding Amtrak engineer involved in a derailment that killed eight people won’t be charged.
This was a bombshell announcement for many of the victims and their families.
The two-year anniversary for this wreck is just days away, and the man some thought would be charged is now off the hook.
Security cameras shows Amtrak train 188 barreling along at more than twice the speed limit just moments before it crashed in Philadelphia.
It was a harrowing site in 2015. The train was mangled, with one car left crushed like a soda can.
“I remember him saying this guy has to go now, the whole back of his head is coming off,” said one victim.
The wreck injured dozens and left three with Maryland ties dead.
“He was absolutely wonderful, everybody looked up to my son,” said the mother of Justin Zemser, who was killed in the crash.
The Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office has decided not to press charges against the train’s engineer, Brandon Bostian.
They said they reviewed audio tapes, cell phones, and records, and found no evidence that Bostian acted with criminal intent or knowledge, adding there’s not enough evidence to prove criminal recklessness.
While evidence shows that the train’s engineer did not act with criminal intent, investigators say the derailment was certainly caused by the train going far above the speed limit.
106 miles per hour in 50 miles per hour zone, and that’s hard for many to stomach.
“A lot of people are going to be wounded a second time, the survivors, the injured,” said attorney Marc Rosen.
Rosen represented victims in a 1987 Amtrak crash in Chase, Maryland.
He says in this case, prosecutors lacked physical evidence.
“No evidence of drugs or alcohol, no evidence of cell phone usage, and they had no other evidence,” he said.
Turning a page in what’s been a tragic ordeal.
“The statutes of limitations is right upon us,” Rosen said. “If they decline to prosecute now, there’s no way they’ll come up with anything.”
Bostian had said that he lost his bearings after a rock hit the windshield of another train. Throughout the investigation, Bostian always said he had no recollection of the derailment.
Last May, a federal judge approved a $265 million settlement for victims in the amtrak 188 derailment.