A Bartlett native who had apparently avoided prosecution in a deadline 2015 train wreck will now stand trial after all. Brandon Bostian learned on Feb. 6 that criminal charges have been reinstated. He will stand trial for the 2015 train wreck in Philadelphia that killed eight and injured another 200 people.
Judge Kathryn S. Lewis, of the criminal trial division, First Judicial District of Pennsylvania,
Amtrak engineer Brandon Bostian sat stunned Tuesday as a judge reinstated twice-rejected criminal charges and ordered him to stand trial for a deadly 2015 train wreck in Philadelphia.
Judge Kathryn S. Lewis ruled that another judge erred in dismissing the reckless endangerment and involuntary manslaughter charges at a hearing in September.
Lewis said evidence at the hearing — including testimony from an injured passenger and gruesome details of tattered cars and strewn limbs — should have been sufficient to warrant a trial.
“The victims are going to have their day in court, which is all they have ever sought,” said Thomas Kline, the lawyer for the family of a victim that kept the case alive by filing a private criminal complaint after city prosecutors declined to bring charges.
National Transportation Safety Board investigators concluded Bostian lost his bearings while distracted by radio chatter about an incident with a nearby train. They found no evidence Bostian was impaired or using a cellphone.
Bostian, 34, remains free on bail but must give up his passport and call court officials weekly. He opted not to attend his Feb. 21 arraignment.
Bostian’s lawyers declined to comment on the ruling. They’ve argued before that his speeding was a momentary lapse from an otherwise safety-conscious engineer.
Amtrak has taken responsibility for the crash and agreed to pay $265 million to settle civil claims filed by victims and their families.