Brandon Bostian, 32, of Queens, N.Y., was at the controls of an Amtrak train that derailed as it barreled around a curve at over 100 miles per hour in Philadelphia. The violent crash killed 8 passengers and injured over 200. All 243 passengers have been accounted for in the twisted wreckage.
Investigators say the train accelerated from 70 mph to 106 mph just seconds before going into the curve. The speed limit on the curve was 50 mph.
In the hours after the crash, Bostian told investigators he did not recall the crash, then he lawyered up and refused to speak to investigators.
"He remembers coming into the curve (and) attempting to reduce speed," Bostian's attorney Robert Goggin told ABC's Good Morning America.
Goggin said Bostian did not apply the emergency brake, as was earlier reported.
"The last thing he recalls is coming to, looking for his bag, getting his cell phone, turning it on and calling 911."
Goggin denied Bostian was texting on his cell phone.
Part of the NTSB's investigation into the fatal crash includes Bostian's state of mind and his online presence on message boards.
In 2012, Bostian took to a rail message board to complain about improving rail safety.
“It shouldn't take an act of Congress to get industry to adopt common-sense safety systems on their own,” Bostian wrote of the 2008 Metrolink train crash in Chatsworth that killed 25 people and injured 135 after an engineer ran a red stop signal while texting on his cellphone. That disaster prompted a national effort to develop positive train control to prevent similar disasters. Source
The openly gay activist also campaigned against California's Prop 8 that banned the rights of gays to get married. He was very vocal about his support of gay marriage and actively sought out media attention.
“It’s kind of insulting to have to beg people for my right to marry,” he told The Midtown Gazette newspaper in 2012. “I feel like we shouldn’t even have to have this fight.”
But many Twitter.com users reacted angrily to Bostian's sexual lifestyle. Some users accused the government-funded Amtrak of hiring Bostian to fill a "diversity quota".
Some observers believe Bostian deliberately crashed the train in a narcissistic bid to bring attention to the need for rail safety improvement.
Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter called Bostian "reckless," adding, "There's no way in the world he should have been going that fast into the curve."