PHILADELPHIA (CBSNewYork/CBS News/AP) — A judge has ordered prosecutors to reverse course and charge an Amtrak engineer with involuntary manslaughter, in the 2015 crash that left eight people dead in Philadelphia.
Prosecutors had previously said they could not prove engineer Brandon Bostian acted with “conscious disregard” when he accelerated the train to 106 mph on a 50 mph curve.
But Philadelphia President Judge Marsha H. Neifield on Thursday ordered the filing of two private criminal complaints.
“In view of our earlier decision not to file charges, we have referred this prosecution to the Pennsylvania Attorney General,” Philadelphia District Attorney’s office communications director Cameron Kline said in a news release. “We take this action to avoid the potential for any apparent conflict of interest, consistent with the Pennsylvania Commonwealth Attorney’s Act.”
The the May 12, 2015 crash in Philadelphia involved a Northeast Regional train traveling from Washington to Penn Station.
Federal investigators concluded that Bostian lost track of his location, or “situational awareness,” before the crash after learning that a nearby SEPTA commuter train had been struck with a rock. They found no evidence he was under the influence of drugs or alcohol or distracted by a cellphone.
Amtrak has taken responsibility for the crash and agreed to pay $265 million to settle related claims.
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