Engineer in deadly Philadelphia Amtrak crash could still be charged

Just two days after city prosecutors announced they would not press charges against the Amtrak driver whose train derailed in 2015, a Philadelphia judge issued an order for the conductor's arrest on involuntary-manslaughter and reckless-endangerment counts.

Philadelphia Municipal Court Judge Marsha Niefield made the decision late Thursday afternoon, a spokesman for the Philadelphia district attorney's office said in an email.

Attorney Thomas Kline, who had sought the private complaint on the Jacobs family's behalf, said the charges wouldn't have happened "had a courageous family, the Jacobs family, not stood up against the decision of a local prosecutor not to press charges". The judge ordered city prosecutors to charge Bostian with two misdemeanors over Rachel Jacobs' death in the May 12, 2015, derailment.

When the Philadelphia District Attorney's Office announced on May 9 that they would not be pressing charges against Bostian, prosecutors said they did not feel they not prove criminal intent nor knowledge - based on interviews with multiple detectives, railroad-safety experts and Amtrak officials. To avoid a conflict of interest, the District Attorney's Office responded that it would refer the prosecution to the state attorney general.

Criminal charges were filed Friday against a U.S. passenger train driver for the 2015 derailment in Philadelphia that killed eight people and injured more than 200.

It was determined that Bostian was at the controls of the New York-bound Amtrak train on May 12, 2015, when, the National Transportation Safety Board later determined, it accelerated to 106 miles per hour instead of slowed as it approached a curve at Frankford Junction.

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Amtrak has taken responsibility for the crash and agreed to pay $265 million to settle related claims.

Neither the attorneys nor the DA's office returned calls requesting comment.

Attorneys for victims then brought a private citizen criminal complaint against Bostian, a rare but not unprecedented legal action.

The family of a NY woman who was killed sought the criminal complaint after city prosecutors declined to press charges. Kline represents the family of the NY victim, Rachel Jacobs, a 39-year-old technology executive, wife and mother.

"One thing he has never recollected is how or why he accelerated before the curve", said lawyer Robert Mongeluzzi, who with Kline represents about three dozen victims.

Attorneys Thomas Kline, left, Richard Sprague and Robert Mongeluzzi take part in a news conference while standing next to a photo of train engineer Brandon Bostian in Philadelphia on Thursday. However, federal safety investigators concluded that nothing struck the train prior to it crashing. Neifield, a Temple University Law School graduate, is highly regarded, said Temple law professor Jules Epstein. Bostian was an experienced engineer. They found no evidence he was under the influence of drugs or alcohol or distracted by a cellphone.

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