Top 5 Live-WURD Friday May 15
1. Lawyer: Engineer has ‘absolutely no recollection’ of Amtrak crash
What was Amtrak engineer Brandon Bostian thinking when his speeding train careened off the rails in Philadelphia, killing eight and sending over 200 to the hospital?
He can’t say.
That’s what Bostian’s lawyer told ABC’s “Good Morning America” on Thursday, saying his client “has absolutely no recollection whatsoever” after losing consciousness in the Tuesday night crash.
“He remembers coming into the curve (and) attempting to reduce speed,” attorney Robert Goggin said. “… The last thing he recalls is coming to, looking for his bag, getting his cell phone, turning it on and calling 911.”
Initial data show the train barreled into a curve at about 106 mph, National Transportation Safety Board member Robert Sumwalt said. That’s more than twice the 50-mph speed limit for the curve, and above the 80-mph limit immediately before it.
2. Senators blast Amtrak cuts for missing safety system in Philadelphia
Two Democratic senators blasted Republicans for proposing Amtrak budget cuts, saying more investment could have ensured that a critical electronic safety system was in place to prevent the deadly train derailment in Philadelphia.
“Again and again and again we see the consequences of a failure to invest,” said Sen. Richard Blumenthal “The approach to infrastructure in this country, all too commonly, has been patch and pray.”
Blumenthal and Sen. Ed Markey singled out the lack of Positive Train Control at the section of track where the Amtrak #188 derailed. While the electronic safety system has been deployed in sections of the Northeast Corridor, it was not in place at the curve where the accident happened.
A National Transportation Safety Board member agreed, saying positive train control can slow or stop a speeding train.
3. Man detained outside White House for trying to fly drone
Secret Service detained a man Thursday afternoon who eyewitnesses tell CNN was trying to fly some sort of remote-controlled aerial device over the White House fence.
The park on the north side of the White House was placed on lockdown while the incident is being investigated. As of Thursday afternoon, the lockdown had been lifted.
President Barack Obama is not currently in the White House and is at Camp David. Additional details of the incident were not immediately available Thursday afternoon.
It’s the second drone incident at the White House this year, coming four months after another man — a U.S. intelligence agency employee who had admittedly been drinking alcohol earlier in the night — lost control of a borrowed personal quadcopter drone that he’d been flying around his apartment, intending to send it out his window and then bring it back inside.
4. Narcotics officers acquitted in federal corruption trial
Six members of an elite Philadelphia narcotics squad were acquitted Thursday of federal corruption charges.
A jury found Officers Thomas Liciardello, Brian Reynolds, Michael Spicer, Perry Betts, Linwood Norman and John Speiser not guilty of charges they beat and robbed drug suspects during their time as members of the Police Department’s Narcotics Field Unit.
Each of the officers had faced one count of racketeering conspiracy. All but Reynolds and Speiser had also been charged with conspiring to violate the civil rights of drug defendants, among other charges.
Outside the federal courthouse Thursday, officers and their supporters exchanged hugs.
Jack McMahon, who represented Reynolds, blasted Commissioner Ramsey, who fired the officers.
5. Darrell Clarke endorses Jim Kenney for mayor
City Council President Darrell Clarke took his former colleague, Jim Kenney, on a tour of a North Philadelphia community center and health center Thursday afternoon and then said what everyone was expecting to hear.
“It’s time for me to say in a very public way what my position is in terms of who we in City Council will ultimately work with,” Clarke said, five days before Tuesday’s Democratic primary for mayor. “And I think that person should be Jim Kenney.”
Kenney served 23 years on Council before resigning his at-large seat to run for mayor in January.
Speaking with Clarke at 21st Street and Cecil B. Moore Avenue, Kenney said he hopes to “replicate” as mayor the relationship former Mayor Ed Rendell had from 1992 to 1999 with then-Council President John Street.
Clarke’s relationship as Council president with Mayor Nutter has been much less cooperative.
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Solomon Jones is an Essence bestselling author and award-winning columnist. He is the creator and editor of Solomonjones.com and morning host on 900 am WURD radio. Click here to learn more about Solomon