Speeding Amtrak Engineer Charged in Deadly 2015 Derailment

The state’s top prosecutor on Friday charged a speeding Amtrak engineer with causing a catastrophe, involuntary manslaughter and other crimes in a deadly 2015 derailment that came after he accelerated to 106 mph on a 50 mph curve.

Prosecutors said they were in talks with engineer Brandon Bostian’s attorney to have him surrender on the charges.

The Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office had announced Tuesday, as the two-year deadline to bring charges loomed Friday, that it couldn’t prove Bostian acted with “conscious disregard” when he accelerated the train to 106 mph on a 50 mph curve, CBS Philadelphia reports.

That judgment call prompted civil lawyers representing the family of a technology executive killed to seek a private citizen’s complaint. They believe Bostian should be held accountable.

Otherwise, veteran lawyer Richard Sprague said, “it’s almost like inviting drivers of vehicles and cars to drive recklessly.”

Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro expanded on charges a Philadelphia judge approved a day earlier. The judge had signed off on two misdemeanor charges over Rachel Jacobs’ death in the May 12, 2015, derailment. Shapiro approved a felony charge of risking or causing a catastrophe and a string of misdemeanors, including eight counts of involuntary manslaughter and reckless endangerment.

Lawyer Thomas R. Kline, who had sought the private complaint on the Jacobs family’s behalf, said the charges wouldn’t have happened “had a courageous family, the Jacobs family, not stood up against the decision of a local prosecutor not to press charges.”

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SOURCE: CBS News, The Associated Press