Southeastern PA

Judge dismisses charges against Amtrak engineer in crash

Pennsylvania AG 'reviewing the judge's decision'

VIDEO: Charges dropped for Amtrak...

PHILADELPHIA - A judge has dismissed criminal charges against the engineer in an Amtrak derailment in Philadelphia that killed eight people.

The decision came Tuesday after a preliminary hearing for 34-year-old Brandon Bostian.

Judge Thomas Gehret said that based on the evidence offered by prosecutors, he feels it is "more likely an accident than criminal negligence."

The 34-year-old engineer was arrested in May after the family of one of the victims filed a private criminal complaint, and another judge overruled prosecutors who'd said there wasn't enough evidence against him.

"The Amtrak crash was a tragedy and this case has a unique procedural history," Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro said after the judge announced the decision. "We are carefully reviewing the judge's decision, notes of testimony and our prosecutorial responsibilities in this case going forward."

Attorney Thomas Kline, who represents the family of victim Rachel Jacobs, said he's disappointed, surprised, and shocked by the judge's decision. The family had pursued a private criminal complaint against Bostian.

"There's been no accountability despite the enormity of the loss," Kline said Tuesday.

Bostian's Washington-to-New York train tumbled from the tracks on May 12, 2015, after accelerating to 106 mph as it entered a 50-mph curve.

About 200 people were injured.

Federal safety investigators concluded Bostian lost his bearings while distracted by an incident with a nearby train.

Bostian's lawyer called the crash an accident and said the charges shouldn't have been filed.


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