PHILADELPHIA (WTXF) - Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro is appealing a court ruling that dismissed the case against the Amtrak engineer involved in the deadly 2015 derailment in Philadelphia.
Last month, Judge Thomas Gehret dismissed charges against 34-year-old Brandon Bostian without a trial after he said evidence pointed to the case being an accident and not a result of negligence on behalf of Bostian.
Bostian had faced several charges in the crash that killed eight people and injured 200 more, including involuntary manslaughter and reckless endangerment.
Bostian's Washington-to-New York train rounded a sharp curve at more than twice the 50 mph speed limit and hurdled off the tracks in a violent derailment that crumpled cars and catapulted passengers into the woods.
Bostian's lawyer, Brian McMonagle, said his speeding was a momentary lapse from a safety-conscious engineer who had lost his bearings after being distracted by an incident with a nearby train.
"The Office of Attorney General has filed its notice of appeal of the Municipal Court decision in the Amtrak case,” spokesman Joe Grace of the Attorney General’s office said Tuesday. “We are seeking a legal determination based on the proper standard for a preliminary hearing."
A National Transportation Safety Board investigation completed last year found no evidence that Bostian was impaired or using a cellphone.
A police officer testified that Bostian also had a tablet computer in his backpack, but the device went missing and was never examined for possible use while he was operating the train. An FBI agent testified there was no reason to suspect Bostian had taken the item from the crash scene.
Bostian was handcuffed in May outside a Philadelphia police station while turning himself in after the family of a woman killed in the crash, Rachel Jacobs, filed a private criminal complaint and another judge ordered that the case go forward.