Missouri alumnus in national spotlight for Amtrak crash

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COLUMBIA - A day after the deadliest train crash in the U.S. in nearly seven years, the national spotlight shifted to the one behind the controls at the time of the high speed crash that claimed eight lives. 

Brandon Bostian, 32, was the engineer for Amtrak train 188 that wrecked Wednesday night. According to investigators, the train was traveling at a speed of 106 miles per hour before it hit a sharp turn and crashed. The speed limit in the area of the accident was 50 miles per hour. 

Before Bostian lived out his dream of becoming a train engineer in New York, he called several different places home. He was raised in Memphis and then attended the University of Missouri in Columbia. He studied business administration and management and worked for some time in college at Target, connected to the Columbia mall. Bostian was also a part of Acacia fraternity.

Alumni and current members of MU's Acacia fraternity have been communicating on-line about what to do for Bostian. Many of the members said they keep Bostian in their thoughts and prayers at this difficult time. Current President of Acacia Fraternity Dillon Schmidt said he did not know Bostian personally, but many of the alumni speaking highly of him. 

"At first, I wanted to show our support somehow but at the same time wanted to give respects to all the people involved in the accident including Brandon," Schmidt said. 

Friends who wished to remain anonymous at this time told KOMU 8 News they are still in shock over what happened. 

"I can tell you that I was definitely surprised. I don't think anyone wants to find out their friend is at the helm of a major incident," a friend of Bostian said. 

Hours after the crash Wednesday, Bostian took to Facebook and changed his profile picture to an all black image. One fellow Amtrak worker commented, "Just wanted to say that we are all thinking about you, and you have our full support. Every day, you will get stronger and stronger. And just remember that your Amtrak family is here for you Brother."

Bostian was released from the hospital after being treated for a concussion and requiring 14 staples in his head and several stitches in his leg. 

Investigators collected Bostian's cell phone and a blood sample. The investigation is ongoing.