Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

The Latest on Amtrak Crash: NYC Woman ID'd as 7th Victim

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

The Latest on Amtrak Crash: NYC Woman ID'd as 7th Victim

Article excerpt

PHILADELPHIA * Brandon Bostian was obsessed with trains while growing up, talked about them constantly and wanted to be an engineer or a conductor.

"He would go on vacation and bring back subway maps," Stefanie McGee, a friend from Tennessee, recalled Thursday. "He would go places with his family and he would talk about the trains instead of the places."

Bostian's teenage dreams would come true. But now, at 32, the Amtrak engineer finds himself at the very center of the investigation into the nation's deadliest train wreck in nearly six years.

Bostian, of Forest Hills, N.Y., earned a bachelor's degree in business administration from the University of Missouri in 2006, the school said.

He then worked as an Amtrak conductor from July 2006 to December 2010 before becoming an engineer. Bostian used to work the Chicago- St. Louis run of Amtrak and was featured in several Post-Dispatch photographs in 2007, when he was an assistant conductor. The photos accompanied a story about train ridership soaring in that corridor.

On Tuesday night, he was at the controls of a train that investigators say entered a sharp bend at 106 mph, twice the speed limit. Eight people were killed and more than 200 injured in the derailment in an industrial section of Philadelphia.

In yet another curious turn in the investigation, Robert Sumwalt of the National Transportation Safety Board said Thursday that the train sped up in the last minute or so before the wreck, accelerating from 70 mph to over 100 mph.

He said it is not clear yet whether the speed was increased manually. So far, investigators have found no problems with the track, the signals or the locomotive, and the train was running on time, Sumwalt said.

Investigators want to know why the train was going so fast. Bostian initially refused to talk to police, but on Thursday Sumwalt said Bostian had agreed to be interviewed by the NTSB and that the meeting will take place in the next few days.

Separately, the Philadelphia district attorney's office said it is investigating and will decide whether to bring charges.

Bostian's lawyer, Robert Goggin, told ABC News that his client suffered a concussion in the wreck, needed 15 staples in his head and has "absolutely no recollection whatsoever" of the crash. …

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