PHILADELPHIA (CBS/AP) — A Philadelphia judge has ordered prosecutors to criminally charge a speeding Amtrak engineer involved in a derailment that killed eight people and injured about 200.
Municipal Court Judge Marsha Neifield on Thursday ordered charges of involuntary manslaughter and reckless endangerment to be filed against engineer Brandon Bostian.
Her ruling comes two days after the district attorney’s office said it couldn’t prove Bostian acted with “conscious disregard” when he accelerated the train to 106 mph on a 50 mph curve.
The family members of Rachel Jacobs, one of the eight victims, filed a private criminal complaint with Neifield.
“All we asked the district attorney’s office to do was hold accountable a locomotive engineer who was traveling twice the allowable speed – 106 mph. We’ve made the argument often had he been an operator of a motor vehicle going 106 mph up the turnpike and it caused the same injuries and the same mayhem, well, he would’ve been held accountable, he would’ve been tried, he would’ve been prosecuted, and he would not have seen the light of day,” said attorney Tom Kline.
The city has referred the prosecution to the state attorney general to avoid any apparent conflict of interest.
The attorney general’s office says it’s reviewing the judge’s order. It could appeal.
“We’ve received the referral from the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office and are carefully reviewing this important matter. We will have more to say on this in the coming days,” the attorney general’s office said in a statement.
Federal investigators concluded Bostian lost track of his location before the 2015 crash after learning a nearby commuter train had been struck with a rock.
Bostian’s attorney hasn’t returned a call seeking comment.
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