An Amtrak engineer involved in a train derailment that killed eight passengers turned himself in to police Thursday on charges including causing a catastrophe and involuntary manslaughter, in a case brought only after a victim’s family got a judge to order that charges be filed.
Brandon Bostian, 34, was put in handcuffs as he arrived at the Philadelphia police station with his attorney.
Just minutes after leaving Philadelphia on May 12, 2015, on a Washington-to-New York run, Bostian accelerated to 106 mph on a 50 mph curve, sending his train careening off the tracks, an investigation by the National Transportation Safety Board found. In addition to the eight dead, about 200 passengers and crew were injured.
The agency found that Bostian essentially forgot where he was when he sped up.
Bostian, who has been on unpaid administrative leave from Amtrak, did not respond to reporters’ questions as he entered the police station.
He told NTSB investigators he could only remember speeding up for an 80 mph straightaway and then hitting the brakes a few minutes later as he felt his body lurch and the locomotive starting to tip over.
Just days before a two-year statute of limitations was to expire, Philadelphia prosecutors announced last week that there was insufficient evidence to prove that Bostian acted with intent or “conscious disregard” for the passengers’ safety.
Victim lawyers said that should be an issue for a jury to decide, and a judge acting on a private criminal complaint from one victim’s family ordered misdemeanor charges filed.
City prosecutors then referred the case to Pennsylvania’s top prosecutor, the state attorney general, who added a felony count of causing a catastrophe on top of eight misdemeanor counts of involuntary manslaughter and other charges.
The citizen complaint against Bostian was brought by attorneys for the family of Rachel Jacobs, a 39-year-old chief executive of a Philadelphia-based technology startup who was killed…