PHILADELPHIA (WJZ/AP) — An Amtrak engineer involved in a fatal train crash two years ago in Philadelphia has turned himself in to police on charges including causing a catastrophe and involuntary manslaughter.
Brandon Bostian was handcuffed by a detective as he arrived at a Philadelphia police station Thursday with his attorney.
The train accelerated to 106 mph on a 50 mph curve May 12, 2015, derailing in a crash that killed eight people and injured about 200.
The Amtrak train passed through Baltimore’s Penn Station before that devastating crash in Philadelphia. Three people with Maryland ties died that day.
One of those victims was Naval Academy midshipman Justin Zemser. He was on his way home after the semester.
“He was wonderful, he was absolutely wonderful. Everybody looked up to my son,” Zemser’s mother says.
The National Transportation Safety Board found that Bostian essentially forgot where he was just minutes after leaving Philadelphia on his Washington-to-New York run and that the train was going twice the speed limit as it approached the curve but he was not under the influence or using his phone.
Attorney Adam Ruther says this case is more complicated than it appears.
“Again, he wasn’t drunk, he wasn’t intoxicated in any way, he wasn’t distracting himself with anything else that was trivial or outside the scope of what he was supposed to be concerned with. He is somebody who took his eye off the ball at a very critical moment and whether to hold someone like that accountable to a criminal degree is a hard call no matter what,” Ruther says.
Philadelphia prosecutors decided not to charge the 34-year-old engineer. But a judge acting on a complaint from a crash victim’s family ordered misdemeanor charges filed.
Amtrak took responsibility and agreed to a $265 million settlement.
Bostian was charged on eight counts of involuntary manslaughter, one for each person who died.
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