Engineer’s Cellphone Examined in Amtrak Accident

Investigators want to know if Brandon Bostian was using it while driving doomed train.

Emergency personnel work the scene of a train wreck, Tuesday, May 12, 2015, in Philadelphia. |Photo by Joseph Kaczmarek/AP

Emergency personnel work the scene of a train wreck, Tuesday, May 12, 2015, in Philadelphia. |Photo by Joseph Kaczmarek/AP

Investigators are trying to determine if the engineer of a doomed Amtrak train was using a cellphone at the time of a Philadelphia derailment that killed eight people, reports say.


Investigators are combing through phone records, locomotive data, radio transmissions and surveillance video to determine if the engineer in last week’s deadly Amtrak derailment was using his cellphone while at the controls, federal authorities said Wednesday.

Brandon Bostian’s phone records show calls were made, text messages were sent and data was used the day of the crash, the National Transportation Safety Board said, but it remains unclear if the phone was used while the train was in motion.

The L.A. Times:

Robert Goggin, Bostian’s attorney, has said his client’s phone was turned off and packed in his bag, as Amtrak rules require, as the train headed north. The seven passenger cars and the locomotive sped up to 106 mph before the crash, which occurred on a curve with a 50-mph speed limit.

The NTSB said it will take time to determine if Bostian’s cellphone was indeed turned off from the time the train left Washington shortly after 7 p.m. until the moment it crashed at 9:21 p.m. Time stamps in the cellphone records must be correlated with various data sources, including the train’s so-called black box recorder, its radio communications and the locomotive’s outward facing video camera.

Meanwhile, the Daily News reports another lawsuit against Amtrak:

Trevor Beddoe, 35, of Queens, N.Y., filed his complaint today in Philadelphia Common Pleas Court against the transit company, saying he suffered “catastrophic and disabling injuries” including a traumatic brain injury, fractured clavicle, shoulder and ribs, lung trauma and other internal injuries, and various cuts and orthopedic injuries. An eBay employee, Beddoe had worked in King of Prussia the day of the crash and had boarded Train 188 at 30th Street Station to head home. He was riding in the second car, which was among the most damaged in the derailment.