Deadline Nears for Endangerment Charges to Be Filed Against Amtrak Engineer

Brandon Bostian was driving Amtrak 188 when it derailed in 2015, killing eight and injuring 200 others. He has so far faced no charges in the crash.

Left: Brandon Bostian (Courtesy of Robert Mongeluzzi); Right: The aftermath of the Amtrak Train 188 derailment (AP/Mel Evans)

Left: Brandon Bostian (Courtesy of Robert Mongeluzzi); Right: The aftermath of the Amtrak Train 188 derailment (AP/Mel Evans)

It’s been almost two years since Amtrak train 188 derailed, killing eight and injuring more than 200.

Just before the crash, Amtrak engineer Brandon Bostian had accelerated the vehicle to 106 mph – more than double the speed limit at the Frankford Junction curve, where the train crashed. A yearlong investigation by the National Transportation Safety Board determined that Bostian was likely distracted immediately before the derailment.

Bostian has so far faced no charges in the crash, and if the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office doesn’t file charges against him by this Friday, it’s unlikely that he’ll be held criminally accountable. 

Reckless endangerment has been discussed as a potential charge against Bostian, according to Philly.com, and the statue of limitations for that second-degree misdemeanor expires after two years.

It’s not clear what exactly caused the crash. Bostian told investigators he doesn’t remember key moments from the event, and he was diagnosed with a concussion after it occurred.

According to blood tests, Bostian did not have drugs or alcohol in his system at the time of the incident. Bostian sued Amtrak shortly after the crash, alleging that the agency failed to provide a safe work environment. Amtrak has denied those accusations.

Last year, a federal judge ordered Amtrak to pay $265 million to settle claims arising from the derailment. Lawyers for those who were injured in the crash reportedly think Bostian should also be held accountable.

“There are people in relentless, debilitating, brutal pain, who have lost their jobs, and who have lost their futures, because of Mr. Bostian’s actions,” Tom Kline, a lawyer representing several derailment victims, told Philly.com. “I think it becomes even more important to hold people like him responsible.”

Follow @ClaireSasko on Twitter.

Around the Web

Be respectful of our online community and contribute to an engaging conversation. We reserve the right to ban impersonators and remove comments that contain personal attacks, threats, or profanity, or are flat-out offensive. By posting here, you are permitting Philadelphia magazine and Metro Corp. to edit and republish your comment in all media.