On the evening of Tuesday, May 13, an Amtrak train bound for New York City barreled into a curve at speeds topping 106 mph, before derailing in Philadelphia. The high-speed crash killed eight people and sent more than 200 passengers to the hospital with serious injuries. Officials say that Amtrak Train 188 was traveling at more than twice the 50 mph speed limit for that curved stretch of track. The fatal crash happened very close to the site of a 1943 derailment – one of the worst rail accidents in US history – that killed 79 people.
Investigators are still looking for answers as to the cause of this tragic event. Was the Amtrak engineer intentionally speeding or did he have problems with a mechanical failure? Did the track itself have defects that caused the commuter train and all seven cars to derail? CNN reports authorities are analyzing “good quality video” that shows the locomotive accelerating rapidly in the seconds leading up to its derailment. NTSB board member Robert Sumwalt said while the footage shows excess speed, it doesn’t explain how it got there.
Long Island personal injury lawyers at Edelman, Krasin & Jaye extend their deepest condolences to those whose lives have been lost and dramatically altered as a result of another tragic occurrence on our region’s railways. Falling on the heels of last year’s Metro North collision, we will be following the NSTB investigation very closely. As seasoned litigators of train accidents in the NY metro area, including that Westchester MNR crash, our own team of investigators and experts is already hard at work researching the cause of this accident, determining who is liable, and learning the scope of injuries sustained by the passengers on board the ill-fated train.
Train engineer has no recollection of the accident
Brandon Bostion, the 32-year-old train engineer, has agreed to an interview with the National Transportation Safety Board. Bostion suffered a concussion and several lacerations during the crash, and says he has no memory of the moments before the derailment. A blood test showed no evidence of drugs or alcohol in his system and his attorney asserts that his client was not texting or talking on his cell phone at the time. Though the engineer has no recollection of pulling the train’s emergency brake, Sumwalt said data shows he did so “just moments” before the crash.
Sumwalt told Reuters that had a speed control system been installed in that area of the tracks, the accident could have been prevented. Known as “positive train control,” this modern safety system has already been implemented along much of Amtrak’s route through the Northeastern Corridor. The system automatically slows or even stops trains that are traveling at excessive speeds or entering a danger zone. This much-need technology is supposed to be installed by the rail industry by the end of 2015.
The NTSB crew, which is expected to be on the accident scene for another week, is evaluating the track condition and signaling equipment, in addition to staff training and the performance of the Amtrak crew.
Long Island train accident attorneys
Whether partly caused by human negligence, track defects or a preventable mechanical failure, this Amtrak train derailment has once again reminded us how fragile life can be, while highlighting the need for advanced safety systems in our nation’s commuter rails. Edelman, Krasin & Jaye offers confidential case reviews free of charge and promises to leave no stone unturned in the fight for justice and fair compensation.
To learn more about your legal options, call our Long Island practice at 1-800-469-7429.