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The Latest: Lawyer for victim's family: 'No accountability'

Brandon Bostian, center, the Amtrak engineer charged in a Philadelphia derailment that killed eight in 2015, arrives at a preliminary hearing at the Criminal Justice Center in Philadelphia, Tuesday, Sept. 12, 2017. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)
September 12, 2017 - 12:19 PM

PHILADELPHIA - The Latest on a court hearing for the engineer in a deadly Amtrak derailment (all times local):

3:05 p.m.

An attorney representing the family of one of the victims of a deadly Philadelphia Amtrak train derailment says he's disappointed, surprised and shocked that a judge dismissed criminal charges against the engineer.

Attorney Thomas Kline represents the family of Rachel Jacobs, who was killed in the 2015 wreck. The family had pursued a private criminal complaint against train engineer Brandon Bostian.

Kline said Tuesday, "There's been no accountability despite the enormity of the loss."

Bostian's lawyer called the crash an accident and says the charges shouldn't have been filed.

The judge said there was little evidence that Bostian acted with "criminal negligence."

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2:40 p.m.

A judge has dismissed criminal charges against the engineer in an Amtrak derailment in Philadelphia that killed eight people.

The decision came Tuesday after a preliminary hearing for 34-year-old Brandon Bostian.

Judge Thomas Gehret says that based on the evidence offered by prosecutors, he feels it is "more likely an accident than criminal negligence."

The 34-year-old engineer was arrested in May after the family of one of the victims filed a private criminal complaint, and another judge overruled prosecutors who'd said there wasn't enough evidence against him.

Bostian's Washington-to-New York train tumbled from the tracks on May 12, 2015, after accelerating to 106 mph as it entered a 50-mph curve.

About 200 people were injured.

Federal safety investigators concluded Bostian lost his bearings while distracted by an incident with a nearby train.

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1:05 p.m.

Police say an Amtrak engineer fighting criminal charges in a deadly 2015 derailment had a second electronic device with him the night of the crash.

A Philadelphia police officer testified at a preliminary hearing Tuesday that he found a small tablet inside Brandon Bostian's backpack in the train's locomotive.

The device later went missing and was never examined by federal investigators for possible use while Bostian was operating the train. Investigators have said they found no evidence that Bostian was using his cellphone at the time of the crash, which killed eight people and injured about 200.

A judge will decide whether to order Bostian to stand trial on charges that include involuntary manslaughter and reckless endangerment.

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11:55 a.m.

A passenger who survived a deadly Amtrak crash in Philadelphia more than two years ago says she heard a "big bang," then blacked out and woke up in the woods.

Blair Berman was riding in the severely damaged first car of the train. She testified Tuesday at a preliminary hearing for Brandon Bostian, an Amtrak engineer who's facing criminal charges in the derailment that killed eight people and injured about 200.

Berman says the train speeded up as it approached a curve and she could feel her body weight shifting before the crash. She says the train was "going way too fast."

Federal safety investigators say Bostian accelerated to 106 mph in a 50 mph curve. They concluded Bostian lost his bearings while distracted by an incident with a nearby train.

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12:25 a.m.

The engineer in a deadly Amtrak derailment in Philadelphia is due in court to learn if he'll face trial on criminal charges including involuntary manslaughter and reckless endangerment.

Brandon Bostian's lawyers are going into Tuesday's preliminary hearing seeking to dismiss the case, which came about only after a victim's family got a judge to order that charges be filed.

Investigators say Bostian accelerated to 106 mph in a 50 mph curve in May 2015, sending the Washington-to-New York train tumbling from the tracks. Eight people died, and about 200 people were hurt.

Federal safety investigators concluded Bostian lost his bearings while distracted by an incident with a nearby train.

The judge overruled a district attorney's decision not to bring charges after victim Rachel Jacobs' family filed a private criminal complaint.

News from © The Associated Press, 2017
The Associated Press

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