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Philadelphia Amtrak Crash: No Charges Against Engineer

Image: Philadelphia Amtrak Crash: No Charges Against Engineer

Broken windshield of derailed Amtrak train. (Elizabeth Robertson/The Philadelphia Inquirer via AP)

By    |   Wednesday, 10 May 2017 07:52 AM

The Philadelphia Amtrak crash in 2015 that killed eight people won't result in criminal charges against the engineer driving the train, Philadelphia's district attorney's office said on Tuesday.

The train derailment at Frankford Junction injured 200 people, along with the eight deaths, noted the district attorney's office. The National Transportation Safety Board concluded a year ago that Brandon Bostian, 34, was distracted by radio dispatches, calling the incident "standard human error," said the New York Daily News.

"The evidence indicates that the derailment was caused by the engineer operating the train far in excess of the speed limit," said district attorney's office. "However, we cannot conclude that the evidence rises to the high level necessary to charge the engineer or anyone else with a criminal offense."

"We have no evidence that the engineer acted with criminal 'intent' or criminal 'knowledge' within the special meaning of those terms under Pennsylvania law for purposes of criminal charges. Nor do we believe there is sufficient evidence to prove, beyond a reasonable doubt, criminal recklessness, which would be the only other basis for criminal liability."

The Amtrak Northeast Regional train left Philadelphia after 7 p.m., heading for New York City. Bostian accelerated at a section just north of Philadelphia's 30th Street Station, hitting a 50 mile-per-hour curve at 106 mph, said the Washington Post.

All seven cars derailed, postponing train service for several days along one of the nation's heaviest traveled rail corridors, and making it Amtrak's worst crash in more than 20 years.

Amtrak paid $265 million last October to settle claims related to the crash, noted the Post.

The crash sparked the debate about the implementation of positive train control systems along such busy corridors.

Positive train control uses computerized communication-based/processor-based train control technology that preventing train-to-train collisions, over-speed derailments, incursions into established work zone limits, and the movement of a train through a main line switch in the wrong position, according to the Federal Railroad Administration.

Atlantic magazine reported last year that Amtrak later implemented positive train control where the Philadelphia accident happened and through most of the Northeast Corridor.

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The Philadelphia Amtrak crash in 2015 that killed eight people won't result in criminal charges against the engineer driving the train, Philadelphia's district attorney's office said on Tuesday.
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2017-52-10
Wednesday, 10 May 2017 07:52 AM
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