Victims’ Attorney: No Charges To Be Filed In Deadly Amtrak Derailment

By Kristen Johanson and Alexandria Hoff

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Friday marks two years since Amtrak train 188 derailed in Philadelphia, killing eight people and injuring more than 200 others. The day also marks a deadline for the city’s District Attorney’s Office, whether they will or won’t file charges against the train’s engineer.

The DA’s office has exactly two years to the day to bring charges before the statute of limitations runs out — but according to attorney Tom Klein, who represents some of the victims and their families, there will be no charges.

“The District Attorney’s Office has told us no,” Klein said. “There will be no charges.”

He says the families are frustrated.

“A man who was operating a train at twice the legal limit has no accountability,” Klein said, “and he walks away scot-free.”

Complete Coverage: Philadelphia Train Derailment

In last year’s National Transportation Safety Board report, officials say the engineer, Brandon Bostian, lost ‘situational awareness’ around a dangerous curve and sped up to 106 miles-per-hour where the speed limit was 50 miles-per-hour.

Charges he could face include reckless endangerment and involuntary manslaughter. Jules Epstein with Temple University’s School of Law says a trial could be lengthy and expensive.

“The prosecutors reasonably may and should consider the harm to the community, and, of course, the victims, but access that against the incredible cost and pain that this trial could bring,” Epstein said. “Prosecutors should realize that they should not bring a case, where they realize it is unlikely, they will get a conviction.”

Amtrak has paid more than $265 million to crash victims and their families.

Bostian’s lawyer did not immediately return a request for comment.



One Comment

  1. Charges should be against congress for not funding Amtrak. No train control on the curve. No break away power poles. Like Europe has. No baggage cars to protect passengers from head end derailment.

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