May 18, 2017
By David Shepardson
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The engineer in a deadly 2015 Amtrak train crash in Philadelphia surrendered to authorities on Thursday after being charged with involuntary manslaughter last week, the Pennsylvania Attorney General’s Office said.
The state charges came even though local prosecutors had cleared the engineer of criminal wrongdoing last week.
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.
Bostian appeared in handcuffs and was led into a police office on Thursday, according to local media outlets. He declined to comment to reporters.
A spokesman for Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro said an arraignment was set for later on Thursday.
The Philadelphia district attorney’s office last week said it did not have enough evidence to charge Bostian and closed the case. But a Philadelphia municipal court judge ordered that the charges of involuntary manslaughter and reckless endangerment against Bostian be revived, and to avoid a conflict of interest, prosecutors referred the case against Bostian to Shapiro’s office.
The Philadelphia district attorney’s office had said evidence indicated the derailment was caused by the engineer operating the train far in excess of the speed limit, but it found no evidence that he acted with criminal intent.
Under state law, last Friday marked the two-year deadline to charge Bostian in the May 12, 2015, crash, which killed eight people and injured more than 180.
In May 2016, the National Transportation Safety Board said that Bostian was probably distracted by radio traffic when the crash occurred.
The train sped into a curve at more than twice the recommended speed minutes after Bostian had listened to emergency radio calls about a nearby commuter train hit by a thrown rock, the NTSB said.
A federal judge in October approved a record $265 million settlement for the accident victims.
(Reporting by David Shepardson; Editing by Dan Grebler)
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