A jury deliberated for less than two hours before reaching an acquittal verdict Friday for Brandon Bostian, now 39.
Bostian was the engineer on board Amtrak 188, which derailed while carrying 238 passengers, according to court documents. He faced charges including eight counts of involuntary manslaughter, causing or risking a catastrophe and multiple counts of reckless endangerment.
CNN has reached out to Bostian’s attorney for comment.
Court documents in the complaint filed by the Pennsylvania attorney general’s office in 2017 showed Bostian “accelerated the train’s movement to a speed of 106 miles per hour,” where the speed limit was 50 mph, that the train was unable to navigate a curve, jumped the tracks and derailed.
The Pennsylvania attorney general’s office released a statement to CNN saying the office respects the jury’s verdict.
“There is no question that the excessive speed of the train that the defendant operated resulted in death and injury to his passengers,” the statement said. “Our goal throughout this long legal process was to seek justice for each and every victim, and help bring victims’ families and their loved ones’ closure.”
CNN has reached out to Amtrak for comment on the verdict.
A National Transportation Safety Board investigation determined Bostian thought he was past the curve, where the speed limit increases to 110 mph. The report added the engineer may have lost “situational awareness” because he was distracted by reports of rocks or bullets hitting nearby trains.
NTSB investigators say they found no evidence the Amtrak engineer was using alcohol, drugs or a cellphone. The ride from the train station in Philadelphia to the site of the derailment was 11 minutes. Investigators say during seven to nine of those minutes, the engineer was listening to and participating in the radio conversations regarding other trains being hit with a projectile.
When NTSB investigators interviewed Bostian, the discussion of trains being hit by a projectile was one of the few details the engineer remembered clearly.
The section of track where the train derailed was not equipped with safety equipment called automatic train control. The automated system notifies an engineer if the train is speeding and applies the brakes automatically if the engineer does not respond. The NTSB has said had the equipment been installed the accident would not have happened.
Amtrak has since installed speed control along the section of track where the derailment occurred.
Amtrak reached a $265 million settlement in with victims of the derailment, according to a news release from attorneys.