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Judge dismisses criminal charges against Amtrak engineer

PHILADELPHIA -- A judge has dismissed criminal charges against Brandon Bostian, an Amtrak engineer who faced charges in the 2015 derailment that killed eight people and wounded about 200.

Judge Thomas Gehret made the decision Tuesday after a preliminary hearing for the 34-year-old engineer. Gehret said that based on the evidence offered by prosecutors, he feels it is "more likely an accident than criminal negligence."

Bostian 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.

Investigators said Bostian accelerated to 106 mph in a 50 mph curve in May 2015, sending the Washington-to-New York train tumbling from the tracks. Federal safety investigators concluded Bostian lost his bearings while distracted by an incident with a nearby train.

Amtrak has taken responsibility for the crash and agreed to pay $265 million to settle claims filed by victims and their families.

The National Transportation and Safety Board found no evidence that Bostian was impaired or using a cellphone. The agency also called Amtrak's long failure to implement automatic speed control throughout the busy Northeast Corridor a contributing factor.

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