Who Is Brandon Bostian, The Amtrak Engineer?

by Melissah Yang

Officials expected to have more answers in the coming days into what caused Tuesday's Amtrak train crash in Philadelphia that resulted in eight deaths and injured more than 200 people, but the National Transportation Safety Board said in a press conference Wednesday preliminary data showed the train was traveling more than twice the speed limit for that section of the railroad. That kind of disclosure has put all eyes on the person in control of the train's speed. So who is Brandon Bostian, the Amtrak engineer driving the train? Here's what we know so far.

Bostian, a 32-year-old Queens, New York, resident, was initially questioned by Philadelphia police and told them he could not recall his speed, CNN reported, citing a law enforcement source close to the investigation. Bostian later retained the services of a lawyer, who on Wednesday confirmed to ABC News his client was the engineer in charge of driving the train. According to ABC News, the attorney said Bostian had no memory of the crash and was "very distraught" when learning it resulted in passenger deaths. Bostian reportedly is cooperating with authorities, his attorney said, and has voluntarily submitted a blood sample as well as his cell phone.

His attorney also told ABC News Bostian suffered a concussion and a head wound, which required 14 staples, and injuries to both of his legs. Bostian also reportedly had "no health issues to speak of" prior to the crash and was not on any medications, according to ABC News.

According to Bostian's LinkedIn profile, he has worked for Amtrak for nine years. He has been a passenger engineer for Amtrak since December 2010, and before that, he was a passenger conductor. (An engineer is the person driving the train while the conductor handles checking passengers' tickets and tending to onboard safety matters.) Bostian's profile also said he received a Bachelor's degree in business administration and management from the University of Missouri in 2006.

The Amtrak train was traveling 106 mph when it derailed, which was more than twice the speed limit for the curve, according to NTSB. The section of the railroad leading into the curve had a speed limit of 80 mph. The engineer driving Train 188, now identified as Bostian, applied the full emergency brake system just before it derailed, NTSB said Wednesday. In a CNN interview, Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter blasted the engineer as "reckless and irresponsible," while NTSB said it was in the process of conducting a full investigation into the crash, examining everything from mechanical issues, such as faulty brakes, to whether or not human error had occurred.