Trial against engineer in fatal Amtrak 188 derailment gridlocked by FOIA documents

Kristen Johanson
May 31, 2018 - 7:27 pm
Investigators examine the train derailment site on Wednesday, May 13, 2015, after a northbound Amtrak train crashed in the Port Richmond area of Philadelphia.

Alejandro A. Alvarez/Philadelphia Inquirer/TNS

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PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — The trial against the engineer at the helm of the ill-fated Amtrak 188 train in May 2015, which killed eight people and injured scores more, has reached an impasse.

During a court hearing Thursday morning, prosecutors told a judge they can't get critical reports they need from the National Transportation Safety Board to move forward. 

State prosecutors explained to a Philadelphia judge that they have requested the full NTSB investigative file through the Freedom of Information Act and have spoken with federal lawyers to figure out how they can get the materials — imperative to the case against Brandon Bostian.

Bostian has been charged with eight counts of involuntary manslaughter and 246 counts of reckless endangerment after a preliminary report revealed the case was due to a loss of the engineer's "situational awareness."

The Pennsylvania Office of the Attorney General took over the case just before the statute of limitations was up, after the District Attorney's Office declined to file charges.  

But now, more than three years later, the case is at a standstill. 

The NTSB said they released what they can to the public, but they are roadblocked by Congress to release further details.

Another court date has been scheduled for August.