Brandon Bostian acquitted in deadly 2015 Amtrak crash

Brandon Bostian during his arrest.

Brandon Bostian during his arrest.

A jury acquitted an Amtrak engineer in a fatal accident in 2015 after his defense claimed the tragedy was a mistake.

“We are all human”, lawyer Brian McMonagle said in closing arguments about client Brandon Bostonaccordingly why.

Bostian was driving train 188 through Philadelphia en route to New York City when the train derailed and more than doubled its speed limit of 50 mph. The May 2015 crash killed eight people and injured more than 200. Amtrak agreed in 2016 to pay the victims $265 million in compensation.

The eight dead became Laura Finamore, Jim Gaines, Abid Gilani, Bob Gildersleeve, Derrick Griffith, Rachel Jacobs, Giuseppe Pirasand Justin Zemser.

The charges were negligent homicide and negligent endangerment. Prosecutors tried to show that Bostian knew where he was and still accelerated the train. They brought forward testimonies of the extensive training of engineers like him.

“I’m qualified so I had to know where I am” called Conrail engineer James waterwho testified that he overheard the crash in an office trailer and witnessed the aftermath.

McMonagle claimed his client was distracted by the chatter of the trains, after which objects were thrown at two trains. One of the engineers needed medical attention because his windshield was broken and pieces of glass were thrown in his face. The other train driver radioed that his train had been “shot at”.

“That day there was an attack on two moving passenger trains just outside of North Philadelphia,” McMonagle said WTXF. “The driving and operation of his train at my customer’s that day was perfect until two trains were attacked.”

Investigators with the National Transportation Safety Board determined that Bostian was disoriented because he was distracted by the radio chatter.

Senior Deputy Attorney General Christopher Phillips dismissed the defense’s stance on the gossip. Prosecutors said the two engineers who dealt with those projectiles managed not to derail their trains.

There was no evidence of mechanical failure. Bostian tested negative for drugs and alcohol and had an impeccable driving record up to that point. He also did not sleep during the incident.

[Screenshot via WCAU]

Do you have a tip we should know? [email protected] Brandon Bostian acquitted in deadly 2015 Amtrak crash

James Brien

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