Amtrak Engineer Charged In Deadly 2015 Philadelphia Train Crash

NTSB Recorder Specialist Cassandra Johnson works with officials on the scene of the Amtrak Train 188 Derailment in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on May 13, 2015.

A law professor says Pennsylvania's attorney general has several choices in handling a judge's order to charge the speeding Amtrak engineer involved in a deadly crash.

Under state law, Friday marks the two-year deadline to charge Bostian in the May 12, 2015, crash that killed eight people and injured more than 180.

The chain of events leading to Shapiro's announcement, contained in a short statement, began Thursday, when Municipal Court President Judge Marsha Neifield effectively overturned a decision by the Philadelphia District Attorney's Office not to prosecute Brandon Bostian.

Attorneys for one of the dead victims of the crash, Rachel Jacobs, then tried to seek a private criminal complaint, prompting the district attorney's office to send the case to the state attorney general for review.

The 2016 National Transportation Safety Board investigation into the derailment concluded that prior to the crash Bostian was distracted by radio conversations between other trains and dispatchers about other trains being hit with projectiles. In view of our earlier decision not to file charges, we have referred this prosecution to the Pennsylvania attorney general.

Federal investigators said they found no evidence Bostian was under the influence of alcohol or drugs or that he had been using a cellphone at the time of the May 12, 2015, derailment of Amtrak train 188, en route from Washington to NY.

The misdemeanor charges each carry a maximum five-year sentence.

Lawyers for the family of a NY woman killed obtained a private criminal complaint from a city judge after Philadelphia prosecutors this week announced they would not pursue charges.

CNN's calls to Bostian were not returned.

Brandon Bostian, who was charged by Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro, is accused of increasing the New York City-bound train's speed "to more than twice the legal limit" - 106 miles per hour - as it approached a curb on May 12. Bostian has said he had no recollection of the incident; he did not have drugs or alcohol in his system, nor was he using a cellphone at the time of the derailment.

Investigators said he was likely preoccupied by a radio report that rocks were being hurled at another nearby train.

Bostian has told investigators that he does not remember much about the moments before the wreck.

Amtrak 188, originating in Washington, D.C., was bound for NY.

Two other lawyers who represent 32 victims in lawsuits against Amtrak also asked for criminal charges against Bostian.

Amtrak took responsibility for the crash and has since installed an automatic braking system on its Northeast Corridor rails that would have prevented the derailment.

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