Investigation Continues Following Deadly Amtrak Crash

It has been almost three weeks since the fatal Amtrak train accident in Philadelphia and the National Transportation Safety Board (“NTSB”) is still trying to find answers. First, the NTSB is investigating whether the conductor was on his cell phone at the time of the derailment. The agency says investigators are comparing time stamps from engineer Brandon Bostian’s phone records with locomotive data, radio transmissions and surveillance video to see whether the phone was used while the train was in motion. Phone records show the phone was used to make calls, sent text messages and access data the day of the derailment, but it’s unclear when.

The NTSB is also reviewing what Bostian was doing the day before the train crash to determine if fatigue was an issue.  The first leg of Bostian’s shift on May 12 was particularly grueling, union officials say, with equipment-related delays on his train to Washington shortening his rest break. A system displaying track signals on the dashboard failed, forcing Bostian to pay close attention while reducing speeds far below normal, according to Railroad Workers United. The train reached Washington 26 minutes late, leaving Bostian about an hour to rest, eat and use the restroom before his trip back to New York on the train that eventually derailed.

The NTSB is focusing all of its’ attention on Bostian at this point because he was alone at the controls at the time of the train accident.  There’s no explanation for why the train went from 70 mph about a minute before the crash to 106 mph a few seconds before it left the tracks. Investigators say preliminary inspections found no problems with the track, the signals or the locomotive. They’ve also ruled out a bullet causing a grapefruit-size fracture on the locomotive’s windshield and say they’re uncertain whether anything struck the train.

This is an investigation I will be following closely as there appears, at this point, nothing faulty with either the train or the track. The focus is on the conductor. Was he on his phone or distracted some other way? Did he pass out or faint or have a seizure right before the derailment? Something needs to explain why the train increased in speed so rapidly. The families of the deceased and the injured will want answers.  As do those who continue to ride Amtrak trains.

If you or someone you love has been involved in an Illinois train accident or Chicago CTA accident, then call Chicago personal injury attorney, Aaron Bryant, for a free legal consultation at 312-614-1076.

NTSB: Amtrak Train Sped Up Before Curve; Trying To Determine Why

National Transportation Safety Board (“NTSB”) is trying to answer questions in the aftermath of the derailment in Philadelphia this week that killed 8 and injured hundreds others.  What we do know, according to NTSB board member Robert Sumwalt, In the minute or so before the train crash, the train sped up from 70 mph until it reached more than 100 mph at a sharp bend where the maximum speed is supposed to be 50 mph. It’s unclear, Sumwalt said, whether the speed was increased manually by engineer Brandon Bostian. Investigators have found no problems with the track, signals or locomotive. Sumwalt said the train, on a route from Washington to New York City, was on time as it left the station in Philadelphia a few minutes before the crash.

Mr. Bostian, who is recovering from multiple injures after the train crash, stated that he does not recall anything from the time of the accident. He has refused to speak to police at this point, but did agree to a meeting with the NTSB, which will take place in the next few days.

I think it’s clear, at least from the early investigation, that the conductor negligently drove the train up to 50 mph over the speed limit. This is what appears to be the cause of the train derailment. The question remains whether the conductor did this accidentally, was he distracted or was there a malfunction with the equipment? These are answers the NTSB, the victims and the family of the deceased all want. I will be following this case closely in the coming days and weeks.

If you or someone you love has been involved in a Chicago train derailment or Chicago bus accident or suffered from a wrongful death, then call Chicago personal injury lawyer, Aaron Bryant, for a free legal consultation at 312-614-1076

Horrific Amtrak Train Derailment Leaves 6 Dead, Injures Hundreds


Horrible news came in last night as an Amtrak train derailed in Philadelphia which killed 6 passengers and injured hundreds more. Multiple news outlets reported that the train, which was headed for New York, derailed at about 9:30 p.m. last night in the Port Richmond neighborhood of Philadelphia. Hospitals treated 200 passengers, with half of those being released overnight. Apparently one of those seriously injured in the train accident was the conductor.

The National Traffic Safety Board (“NTSB”) is currently investigating the cause of the train crash and spokesman said they would like to have some answers within the next 24 to 48 hours. CNN reported this morning that Investigators are seriously looking at speed as an issue in the crash. This is partly because of the angles of the train wreckage and the type of damage seen on its cars. To describe how violent the derailment was, an  U.S. Department of Transportation representative stated that the engine and two cars were left standing upright, three cars were tipped on their sides, and one was nearly flipped over on its roof. The seventh one was “leaning hard.”

Among other things, authorities will examine the condition of the track and the train, how the signals operated and “human performance,” NTSB board member Robert Sumwalt said. The speed limit in the crash area is around 50 mph.

There’s not much for me to add to this horrible event other than the NTSB and U.S. Department of transportation will and should perform a thorough investigation on the cause of this train derailment. News reports do not indicate there is anything glaring right now that would pinpoint the cause of this crash. Regardless, I think we can assume there will be multiple wrongful death lawsuits from the families and estates of the deceased and personal injury lawsuits from those who were injured. More importantly, the investigation will hopefully give us answers on how this happened and how this can be prevented in the future.

If you or someone you love has been seriously injured in a Chicago train accident or Chicago bus accident, then call Chicago personal injury lawyer, Aaron Bryant, for a free legal consultation at 312-614-1076.

Track Crews To Blame For Illinois Train Accident

A terrible tragedy took place last week in University Park, Illinois, where an Amtrak train struck an SUV, leading to the death of a 26 year old Naperville dance instructor.

Investigators have now said that track crews inadvertently turned off the gates and warning lights, which led to the collision. A video camera aboard the four-car Amtrak train night corroborated the preliminary findings, officials said. 

Canadian National crews had been working on a signal system related to switching trains from one track to another within a mile of the University Park crossing, investigators said. The work on the signal system was unrelated to the crossing signals, but it delayed the raising of gates and the shutdown of other safety devices at the crossing after a train had passed, said an official close to the investigation.

As a result, the barriers, lights and bells activated properly before the approach of a train, but the warning devices continued to operate for an extended period after trains cleared, blocking traffic, several railroad sources said.

Canadian National crews tried to fix the problem and thought they had remedied it, officials said. But they actually deactivated the warning system, creating an unprotected crossing that provided motorists no indication of oncoming trains, officials said.

“This was human error. Track circuits and crossing circuits overlap. They got their wires crossed,” an investigator said.

This is a terrible tragedy that could have been avoided and will more than likely lead to a wrongful death  lawsuit. To read the entire article in the Chicago Tribune, click here.

If you or someone you know has been involved in a Chicago car accidentChicago truck accident  or Illinois train accident , then call attorney Aaron Bryant for a free consultation at 312-588-3384 or email or go to the firm website at