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Washington (AFP) - Criminal charges were filed Friday against a US passenger train driver for the 2015 derailment in Philadelphia that killed eight people and injured more than 200.
Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro said charges were filed against Brandon Bostian, the engineer, or driver, of the Amtrak 188 train involved in the deadly May 12, 2015 incident.
Bostian faces eight counts of involuntary manslaughter, one count of causing or risking a catastrophe, "and numerous counts of reckless endangerment," Shapiro said in a brief statement.
Amtrak 188 was carrying 243 people from Washington to New York on May 12 when it hurtled off the track in Philadelphia.
National Transportation Safety Board investigators said the train was traveling at 105 miles (170 kilometers) an hour, twice the speed limit, when the driver slammed on the emergency brakes just before the crash.
Bostian suffered a blow to the head in the crash, which his lawyer said affected his memory of the event.
If found guilty Bostian faces time in prison.
"Bostian was an experienced engineer who was aware of the route and the fact that there were speed limits throughout the route," reads the police criminal complaint filed by Shapiro's office.
When the train approached a curve at the Frankford Junction the speed limit dropped to 50 miles per hour -- but instead of decelerating, "Bostian accelerated the train's movement to a speed of 106 miles per hour.
"As a direct result of the violation of the lawful speed limit, at approximately 9:20 p.m., the train was unable to navigate the curve, 'jumped' the tracks, and derailed," leading to the deaths and injuries.
Shapiro congratulated the team from his office that worked on the case "to pursue justice on behalf of the victims of this deadly crash."
The northeastern rail corridor connecting Washington and New York -- which passes through Philadelphia -- is one of the country's busiest, a popular route among professionals and tourists alike.
Investigators found no evidence that Bostian had been on his phone at the time of the crash, or that a bullet had been fired as first reported.