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Charges Dropped Against Amtrak 188 Engineer; Drag Race Hit-And-Run; La Colombe CEO Offer Rejected
  by: iradioal - Philadelphia, PA
started: 07/23/19 9:09 pm | updated: 07/23/19 9:09 pm
All charges against the Amtrak engineer at the helm of the deadly May 2015 crash have been dropped once again. Brandon Bostian had been charged with involuntary manslaughter of eight people and reckless endangerment of 246 injured, and one count of risking a catastrophe. The charges were dismissed on Tuesday, 7/23, during a status meeting in front of Judge Barbara A. McDermott. The defense argued that any mistakes Bostian made do not amount to crimes. "We don't lock up doctors when they commit malpractice and they make a mistake," defense lawyer Brian McMonagle told The Associated Press. "She (the judge) did the right thing." An NTSB investigation found no evidence that Bostian was impaired or using a cellphone. The trial was set to start on September 23. There will be a hearing on August 16 for the state to appeal this decision. In May 2017, shortly before the statute of limitations ran out in the case, the Philadelphia District Attorney's office declined to bring charges. This prompted Pennsylvania State Attorney General Josh Shapiro to file charges at the last minute. In September of 2017, those charges were dropped by Judge Thomas Gehret citing lack of evidence. That ruling was reversed in February 2018 by Judge Kathryn S. Lewis and the charges were reinstated. Amtrak has taken responsibility for the crash and has agreed to pay $265 million to settle civil claims filed by victims and their families. It has also installed positive-train control technology that would automatically slow a speeding train between Boston and Washington, D.C.

Philadelphia Police say they have found a driver involved in a hit-and-run incident early Saturday morning, 7/20, in South Philadelphia, but they are still looking for the pedestrian victim. It happened around 1 a.m. near 3rd and Pattison Avenue where cars were illegally street racing. It was caught of video by many witness and has been posted by Philadelphia Police. (see video below). This incident is separate from another hit-and-run that occurred around the same time and place also involving a street racer that ended in an assault and robbery of the victim. This incident involved a white Nissan 350Z with large purple puzzle decals. The Nissan crashed into a black car and trailer. A female pedestrian was struck and thrown underneath the trailer. Bystanders helped pull the woman from under the trailer and confronted the female driver of the white car. The driver did leave the scene as did the victim. The driver has made contact with police and is willing to cooperate. "I want to make an appeal to any witnesses out there, any friends of the person involved to come forward and let us know who they are because we are concerned about that person’s well being, their health and welfare," Philadelphia Police Capt. Mark Overwise said during the press conference. "We are looking for the pedestrian that was taken away in that video, we assume by friends or other bystanders."

The CEO of a Philadelphia-based coffee company offered to pay the outstanding lunch balances of a Wilkes-Barre area school district whose parents were threatened with the possibility of child services by the school board president for non-payment. Todd Carmichael, co-founder and CEO of La Colombe Coffee Roasters, offered to pay $22,000 to Wyoming Valley West School District to cover the unpaid lunch bills. His offer was rejected, however, by school board president Joseph Mazur according to Carmichael spokesman Aren Platt. Mazur apparently argued that the parents can afford to pay. "The position of Mr. Carmichael is, irrespective of affluence, irrespective of need, he just wants to wipe away this debt," Platt said, noting the offer stands. Last week, the district sent out around 1,000 letters to parents saying, "You can be sent to dependency court for neglecting your child's right to food. The result may be your child being taken from your home and placed in foster care." The largest bill is more than $450. Luzerne County has warned the district that children's services is not run that way.

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