The engineer in a deadly 2015 Amtrak train crash in Philadelphia has been charged with involuntary manslaughter, Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro said in a statement on Friday, even though local prosecutors had cleared the engineer of criminal wrongdoing earlier in the week.
In addition to eight counts of involuntary manslaughter, former Amtrak engineer Brandon Bostian was charged with one count of causing or risking a catastrophe and numerous counts of reckless endangerment, according to Shapiro’s statement.
The attorney’s general office did not say when Bostian will be arraigned. He is expected to surrender to make a court appearance but that will not likely happen Friday night, officials said.
The Philadelphia district attorney’s office on Tuesday said it did not have enough evidence to charge Bostian and closed the case.
But a Philadelphia municipal court judge on Thursday ordered the charges of involuntary manslaughter and reckless endangerment against Bostian to be revived.
The district attorney’s office had said evidence indicated the derailment was caused by the engineer operating the train far in excess of the speed limit, but it found no evidence that he acted with criminal intent.
To avoid a conflict of interest, prosecutors referred the case against Bostian to Shapiro’s office.
Under state law, Friday marks the two-year deadline to charge Bostian in the May 12, 2015, crash, which killed eight people and injured more than 180.
In May 2016, the National Transportation Safety Board said in a report that Bostian was probably distracted by radio traffic when the crash occurred.
A federal judge in October approved a record $265 million settlement for the accident victims. A lawyer for Bostian did not immediately respond to requests for comment on Friday.
(Reporting by Laila Kearney; Additional reporting by David Shepardson; Editing by Lisa Von Ahn and Leslie Adler)