PHILADELPHIA (CBSNewYork/AP) — Pennsylvania’s attorney general has decided to bring charges against an Amtrak engineer in connection with a 2015 crash that left eight people dead and hundreds hurt in Philadelphia.
Brandon Bostian now faces one count of causing or risking a catastrophe, eight counts of involuntary manslaughter and numerous counts of reckless endangerment.
Attorney General Josh Shapiro announced the charges Friday evening, two years to the day after the crash.
The announcement came just seven hours before the statute of limitations was set to expire, and not a moment too soon for the families of victims, CBS2’s Jessica Moore reported.
“This isn’t a moment of congratulations or euphoria. This is a moment of justice. It’s a moment of bringing a man to task for what he did to all these families and how he did this so wrong,” said Thomas R. Kline, the attorney for the victims’ families. “The attorney general tonight should be commended and congratulated for doing the right thing.”
Eight people were killed and 200 others injured on May 12, 2015 when the Amtrak train from Washington, D.C. to Penn Station derailed in northeast Philadelphia.
Bostian, 33, told investigators he blacked out and didn’t remember what happened during the crash.
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.
Prosecutors had previously said they could not prove Bostian acted with “conscious disregard” when he accelerated the train to 106 mph on a 50 mph curve.
Then on Thursday, a judge ordered the attorney general’s office to file charges in the case.
Amtrak has taken responsibility for the crash and agreed to pay $265 million to settle related claims.
The derailment also created fundamental policy changes for Amtrak. The company has since installed positive train control systems in its trains, which automatically slow a speeding train.
Prosecutors say they have been in talks with Bostian’s attorney to have him surrender and be arraigned on the charges.
A judge says Bostian lives in Massachusetts.
(© Copyright 2017 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)