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Possible Criminal Charges in Train Crash

On Behalf of | Mar 22, 2015 | Personal Injury

On Friday May 22nd, news broke that a second probe had been initiated into the tragic Amtrak Crash on May 12th.  The focus of this investigation is to determine whether or not the train’s engineer, Brandon Bostian was either criminally negligent or engaging in reckless behavior in the time leading up the train derailment that claimed eight lives.  If the probe concludes that Bostian was, criminal charges may be brought against him, besides the civil cases he is likely to face from survivors and the families of the eight fatalities.

Was the train crash criminally negligent?

 Criminal negligence can be broadly defined as behaving in such a way that endangers the lives and well being as others without any concern for the consequences of their actions.  One of the ways that the probe could decide Bostian was criminally negligent is if he was using his cell phone while operating the train.  Like using a cell phone while driving is illegal in the state of New York, so too is using a cell phone while driving a train.  Clearly the devastation with a train is of greater scope.

Should the secondary probe prove criminal negligence, a list of charges may well be possible.  A few of these include:

Reckless Endangerment – Recklessly engaging in behavior that created a greater risk of injury to others.

Involuntary Manslaughter
– Unintentionally killing someone else through reckless behavior or criminal negligence.

Third Degree Murder
– Intentionally killing another person while emotionally or mentally disturbed without previous intent to kill that person.

Aggravated Assault — Any assault that maims, disfigures, or if the injuries sustained threaten death, an assault can be upgraded to Aggravated Assault.

– Physically injuring another person with the intention to harm them.

At present, it is still difficult to say how this case will go.  New York City District Attorney’s office did not press charges against William Rockefeller when he fell asleep while driving a Metro North train in 2013.  While another engineer was convicted of a Maryland train crash in 1983 with a cumulative sentence of 8 years.

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