The jury acquitted 38-year-old engineer Brendan Bostian of causing the crash, manslaughter and reckless danger after just over an hour of discussion.
Eight people were killed and more than 200 were injured when a train derailed in northern Philadelphia at more than twice the speed limit. Amtrak has agreed to pay victims and their families $ 265 million in civil agreements.
Bostian’s lawyer described him as a lifelong train lover who had a perfect job until he was distracted by people throwing rocks in the area just before the crash. Prosecutors say he acted with reckless disregard for the safety of his passengers traveling from Washington to New York that Tuesday night. The train stopped at 30th Street Philadelphia Station about 10 minutes earlier and headed north.
Federal security investigators concluded that Bostian lost what they call “situational awareness” on the track, thinking he passed the S-curve and went straight when accelerating from about 65 miles per hour to 106 miles per hour. In fact, it was in the middle of an S-turn and was moving more than twice the limited speed. Investigators found no evidence that he was incompetent or used a cell phone at the time.
Amtrak settled a civil lawsuit with the victims and their families in 2016 for $ 265 million, a new, higher limit set by Congress after the disaster.
The criminal case had a more unusual history.
The Philadelphia Attorney General dropped the criminal charge after the National Transportation and Security Council released its findings. The Prosecutor General’s Office later took the case to court after the families of some of the victims were charged.
# UPDATE: The jury came in at 1:15, came back with the verdict at 2:23 – keep in mind, the jury was replaced and the discussion started at 1:15
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Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro’s office issued the following statement after the verdict was read:
Undoubtedly, the excessive speed of the train driven by the accused led to the death and injury of his passengers. Our goal during this long trial was to achieve justice for each victim and help deliver the families of the victims and their closure of loved ones. the jury did not consider his actions criminal, and we respect the jury’s verdict. “
SEE ALSO: $ 265 million was ordered as a result of the Amtrak disaster in Philadelphia
The jury began weighing the charges Friday morning when around noon a judge announced that an alternative would come. The jury then began to consider from the beginning.
The jury had to decide whether Bostian had deliberately accelerated, knowing the risks – the threshold required for criminal negligence.
General Claims Judge Barbara McDermott said a juror whose sister died Thursday night came to court on Friday and began to ponder before asking to be released.
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