The Amtrak engineer involved in a deadly 2015 crash in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, has sued the railroad, saying it failed to address reports that people were throwing projectiles at trains.
Brandon Bostian, 33, said he was left disoriented or unconscious when something struck his train before the May 2015 crash, which left eight people dead and more than 200 injured.
Federal investigators came to a different conclusion: that Bostian’s train wasn’t hit.
They believe Bostian was instead distracted over reports that a nearby train was struck and lost track of where he was, accelerating to 106 mph as he approached a 50 mph curve. The National Transportation Safety Board called Amtrak’s long failure to implement automatic speed control throughout the busy Northeast Corridor a contributing factor.
Amtrak has taken responsibility for the crash and agreed to pay $265 million to settle related claims.
Bostian filed the personal injury lawsuit Wednesday in Philadelphia under the Federal Employers’ Liability Act, which covers railroad employees injured on the job. He accuses Amtrak of failing to provide him with a safe workplace and seeks more than $50,000 in damages. Neither Amtrak nor Bostian’s lawyer immediately returned calls seeking comment Thursday.
Friends describe Bostian as a conscientious train enthusiast who had worked his way up to his dream job. In the lawsuit, Bostian said the crash left him with physical and psychological injuries that now make it difficult for him to work.
Bostian told the NTSB that he was concerned about the engineer on a passing commuter train that was struck minutes earlier, and said he was “a little bit concerned” for his own safety. But he never indicated that his own train had been struck.
Train crews have a term for the problem of people throwing rocks at trains – “getting rocked.” No one was arrested over the rocks thrown at the transit train just before the Amtrak crash.
Amtrak installed the automated speed limits at the Philadelphia curve days after the derailment.
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