• Northeast Regional 188 - Accident In Philadelphia

  • Discussion related to Amtrak also known as the National Railroad Passenger Corp.
Discussion related to Amtrak also known as the National Railroad Passenger Corp.

Moderators: GirlOnTheTrain, mtuandrew, Tadman

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  by ThirdRail7
 
The on again, off again charges against 188's engineer, Brandon Bostian are off again. The charges have been dismissed, once again.

Naturally, there will be another appeal....again.


https://6abc.com/charges-again-dismisse ... k/5413323/

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- Criminal charges have once again been dismissed against the engineer at the controls of an Amtrak train that crashed in Philadelphia in 2015, leaving eight people dead.

Brandon Bostian had been charged with involuntary manslaughter and reckless endangerment.

The charges were dismissed during a status hearing with Judge Barbara A. McDermott on Tuesday morning. A trial had been scheduled to start in September.

A defense lawyer argued Tuesday that any mistakes made by Brandon Bostian do not amount to a crime, and the judge agreed, the AP reports.

"We don't lock up doctors when they commit malpractice and they make a mistake," defense lawyer Brian McMonagle told The Associated Press. The judge "did the right thing."

Attorney Thomas R. Kline, who represents two of the families, hopes for the decision to be overturned on appeal.
  by Gilbert B Norman
 
Fair Use quotation from the immediately linked Politico article:
The only other alternative is for travelers to not ride Amtrak..
Gottaluv that one; only problem. someone will "take 'em up" on that.
  by STrRedWolf
 
Dick H wrote: Fri Nov 08, 2019 9:55 pm Article from Politico on Amtrak Lawsuits.
https://www.politico.com/news/2019/11/0 ... sue-068175
Time to write my Congress critter on this issue and apply the "no arbitration" law to trains and buses.
  by NH2060
 
The engineer to possibly face charges yet again for a 3rd time:
The Amtrak engineer who operated a train that derailed in 2015 in Philadelphia, killing eight people, can be tried criminally for the deaths and injuries, a Superior Court judge said Thursday.
The decision came just days after the May 12 derailment’s five-year anniversary. The case against Brandon Bostian had been dismissed last July, but Superior Court Judge Victor Stabile ruled that the dismissal was based on fact-finding that should happen in a trial.
https://www.inquirer.com/transportation ... 00514.html
  by n2cbo
 
NH2060 wrote: Fri May 15, 2020 5:13 am The engineer to possibly face charges yet again for a 3rd time:
The Amtrak engineer who operated a train that derailed in 2015 in Philadelphia, killing eight people, can be tried criminally for the deaths and injuries, a Superior Court judge said Thursday.
The decision came just days after the May 12 derailment’s five-year anniversary. The case against Brandon Bostian had been dismissed last July, but Superior Court Judge Victor Stabile ruled that the dismissal was based on fact-finding that should happen in a trial.
https://www.inquirer.com/transportation ... 00514.html
Hasn't this guy been through enough already?????? Why hasn't anyone gone after whoever threw the damned rock/brick/whatever at the train that started the whole chain of events in the first place??

Sorry if this thing about the rock/brick/whatever is going around in circles, but it looks like the legal system in Pa. is spinning this guy around in circles as well. Mr. Bostian must feel like he is stuck in the movie "Groundhog Day".
  by STrRedWolf
 
n2cbo wrote: Sat May 16, 2020 1:59 am Hasn't this guy been through enough already?????? Why hasn't anyone gone after whoever threw the damned rock/brick/whatever at the train that started the whole chain of events in the first place??

Sorry if this thing about the rock/brick/whatever is going around in circles, but it looks like the legal system in Pa. is spinning this guy around in circles as well. Mr. Bostian must feel like he is stuck in the movie "Groundhog Day".
I should ask the lawyer up there, but I wonder if Mr. Bostian's lawyer can throw a 6th Amendment ("right to a speedy trial") argument here and prevail...

... but let's not go into the legal weeds.
  by justalurker66
 
Dismissed vs found innocent. As long as he is within the statute of limitations for the crime he is being tried for the legal system isn't violating his rights. Mr Bostian is not being held pending trial. The "right to a speedy trial" is intended to prevent people from being held indefinitely without a trial.

As for this case ... As long as the prior court came to the decision to dismiss the case based on facts, I don't see the difference between having a judge make the decision outside of a trial vs in a trial. Other than the benefit of a trial being a verdict of not guilty (with double jeopardy applied) instead of a dismissal that could be reversed. Reversing a court's decision shouldn't be done unless the court came to the wrong conclusion. In this case the prior court came to the conclusion that Mr Bostian should not be charged. If the complaint of the higher court is "that decision should have been made at trial" but not that the conclusion was wrong then the decision should stand.

I agree that this case should be over. The injured and families of the dead do not agree. A not guilty verdict would be the best outcome for Mr Bostian. That verdict will not come without a trial.
  by Tadman
 
The most messed up thing about all this? Despite all the technology and legal proceedings, we still have pretty much no idea what happened here, do we? No brick throwers have been found, no diseases or conditions have been found, the engineer has not been found to be suicidal or crazy.

We're pretty much still in the grey area we were 90 second after it happened.
  by Return to Reading Company Olney Sta
 
Tadman wrote: Sat May 16, 2020 1:47 pm ....we still have pretty much no idea what happened here, do we? ....We're pretty much still in the grey area we were 90 second after it happened.
Yes, may well come down to Occam's Razor.

Mr. Bostian, by all accounts a competent and conscientious engineer, could have been distracted by the chatter about the rock. There is a shallow right curve not long after Frankford; there is a similar curve between N Philadelphia and Frankford. He might well have unfortunately lost situational awareness of his exact location. (Something that no doubt has happened to any one of us at times while driving: "how am I at point C already, don't recall passing A and B.")

A tragedy all around.
  by SouthernRailway
 
n2cbo wrote: Sat May 16, 2020 1:59 am
NH2060 wrote: Fri May 15, 2020 5:13 am The engineer to possibly face charges yet again for a 3rd time:
The Amtrak engineer who operated a train that derailed in 2015 in Philadelphia, killing eight people, can be tried criminally for the deaths and injuries, a Superior Court judge said Thursday.
The decision came just days after the May 12 derailment’s five-year anniversary. The case against Brandon Bostian had been dismissed last July, but Superior Court Judge Victor Stabile ruled that the dismissal was based on fact-finding that should happen in a trial.
https://www.inquirer.com/transportation ... 00514.html
Hasn't this guy been through enough already?????? Why hasn't anyone gone after whoever threw the damned rock/brick/whatever at the train that started the whole chain of events in the first place??

Sorry if this thing about the rock/brick/whatever is going around in circles, but it looks like the legal system in Pa. is spinning this guy around in circles as well. Mr. Bostian must feel like he is stuck in the movie "Groundhog Day".
Agreed and Mr. Bostian's legal bill must be in the hundreds of thousands of dollars, which is punishment in of itself.
  by Ken W2KB
 
STrRedWolf wrote: Sat May 16, 2020 7:23 am
n2cbo wrote: Sat May 16, 2020 1:59 am Hasn't this guy been through enough already?????? Why hasn't anyone gone after whoever threw the damned rock/brick/whatever at the train that started the whole chain of events in the first place??

Sorry if this thing about the rock/brick/whatever is going around in circles, but it looks like the legal system in Pa. is spinning this guy around in circles as well. Mr. Bostian must feel like he is stuck in the movie "Groundhog Day".
I should ask the lawyer up there, but I wonder if Mr. Bostian's lawyer can throw a 6th Amendment ("right to a speedy trial") argument here and prevail...

... but let's not go into the legal weeds.
No. The reason for the delay is the defense’s counsel contesting of the charges, and the resultant series of appeals. Absent the contesting by the defense the matter would have proceeded to trial long ago.
  by STrRedWolf
 
Five years removed... and we're still dealing with this. Right, lets look back... and for the most definite record we have on hand, lets pull the NTSB report on the accident.

Now my read is this:
  1. Kids throw or drop rocks off the Diamond Street Bridge around 9pm onto an inbound SEPTA train from Trenton, causing the front plate glass to smash over the engineer of the train. Train is thrown into emergency stop.
  2. 9:13pm, the now injured SEPTA engineer calls CTEC to warn the problem and request medical attention.
  3. The engineer of 188 splits his attention between the radio and the railroad in case of any problems that may be ahead... and loses his bearings.
  4. Thinking he's past Frankford, the engineer of 188 guns it. Train speeds up, has no external limits (PTC/ATC/etc)... and crashes.
I'm reminded from Leonard French, an attorney in Philadelphia who has a Youtube series on various law cases, that you can only be so far removed to be found liable for some crimes (like manslaugher or murder). I'm of the opinion that they're past that threshold -- the kids probably knew that they'd cause a train to stop... but to cause another train to crash five-ish neighborhoods away? Not likely at all.

Take the engineer of 188 out (because there's not enough facts to say one way or the other if he's guilty or not) and who can you see is liable?

Lets take everything into consideration, and take out the human element. The NTSB says that ether PTC or a properly signaled system would have mitigated or prevented the train from crashing. PTC was running late (partly because of Congress and/or the FCC dragging it's feet), and Amtrak had assumed that the signals were proper as no reasonable engineer would be going over track speed limits.

But then the engineer is human, and we all know how irrational we can be.

Had Amtrak assumed nothing and set their signalling up right, then the engineer would of realized his mistake and slowed down... or the train would of thrown itself into emergency well before the curve.

Had PTC not been delayed and was active on that track but with no other adjustments, I think the crash still would have happened, but at a slower speed, and NTSB would be screaming at Amtrak for screwing up the install.

Had both PTC not been delayed and Amtrak properly setting signaling, the train would be thrown in emergency as it was traveling geographically east (turning from east-north-east), well before Franklin Junction.

Congress and the FTC I think trigger that threshold. Amtrak would be under it, but it's capped on liability, and I bet that's been tapped dry. So the lawyers for the families are going after the engineer... and the courts are wrangling over if they even have enough proof to go through a trial.

Excuse me, I'm sick of popcorn right now... I'm heading to the loo...
  by n2cbo
 
STrRedWolf wrote: Sat May 16, 2020 4:33 pm Five years removed... and we're still dealing with this. Right, lets look back... and for the most definite record we have on hand, lets pull the NTSB report on the accident.

Now my read is this:
  1. Kids throw or drop rocks off the Diamond Street Bridge around 9pm onto an inbound SEPTA train from Trenton, causing the front plate glass to smash over the engineer of the train. Train is thrown into emergency stop.
  2. 9:13pm, the now injured SEPTA engineer calls CTEC to warn the problem and request medical attention.
  3. The engineer of 188 splits his attention between the radio and the railroad in case of any problems that may be ahead... and loses his bearings.
  4. Thinking he's past Frankford, the engineer of 188 guns it. Train speeds up, has no external limits (PTC/ATC/etc)... and crashes.
I'm reminded from Leonard French, an attorney in Philadelphia who has a Youtube series on various law cases, that you can only be so far removed to be found liable for some crimes (like manslaugher or murder). I'm of the opinion that they're past that threshold -- the kids probably knew that they'd cause a train to stop... but to cause another train to crash five-ish neighborhoods away? Not likely at all.

Let me give an example of how the (I'll call them "Urban Youths") throwing/dropping a brick or whatever from the Diamond Street Bridge could possibly be held criminally liable for the deaths.

Example: some "Urban Youths" decide to pull a couple of fire alarm boxes with false alarms. One of the fire engines gets into a FATAL accident while responding to the false alarm. The "Urban Youths" can be charged with FIRST DEGREE MURDER in some jurisdictions since they caused death while they were committing a FELONY.

Now, I am not familiar with the criminal code in Philadelphia, but since the damage maliciously caused was probably in excess of $200.00, in some jurisdictions that act could be charged as a felony.

DISCLAIMER: I am not an attorney, I only played one on the radio (I used to co-host a legal themed talk show on the radio)
  by justalurker66
 
STrRedWolf wrote: Sat May 16, 2020 4:33 pm Take the engineer of 188 out (because there's not enough facts to say one way or the other if he's guilty or not) and who can you see is liable?
Liability has already been determined and paid. What has not been determined is criminal charges: 216 counts of reckless endangerment, one count of causing a catastrophe, and eight counts of involuntary manslaughter. He needs to be found not guilty to put these charges to bed.
STrRedWolf wrote: Sat May 16, 2020 4:33 pm PTC was running late (partly because of Congress and/or the FCC dragging it's feet), and Amtrak had assumed that the signals were proper as no reasonable engineer would be going over track speed limits.
And there is your condemnation of Mr Bostian. No reasonable engineer would be going over track speed limits. Regardless of the excuses offered (distraction or loss of situational awareness) the facts show that Mr Bostian was the engineer of the train and he operated the train well over the track speed limits.

The problem could have been (and after the incident was) corrected without full implementation of PTC. Blaming PTC, the FRA, the FCC, the man in the moon, aliens, etc. is just another distraction from the truth. No train should ever have been operated at the speed 188 was being operated at that location.

I do not believe that Mr Bostian's actions rose to the level of reckless endangerment etc. But that is for a trial to decide.
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