Union Exec: Engineer Caught Himself Nodding Off Before Crash

By: AP Email
By: AP Email

YONKERS, N.Y. (AP) - A rail union official says a commuter train engineer caught himself nodding at the controls before the train started to veer off its tracks and derailed in New York City, killing four people.

Union leader Anthony Bottalico said Tuesday that William Rockefeller "caught himself, but he caught himself too late."

Bottalico says Rockefeller told him he "nodded," akin to a momentary lapse while driving a car.

The National Transportation Safety Board is interviewing Rockefeller. Member Earl Weener says it's too soon to say whether the engineer was fully conscious around the time of Sunday's wreck in the Bronx.

He says it's too soon to say whether the wreck was the result of human error or a mechanical problem.

A lawyer for Rockefeller hasn't returned calls. A former boss calls Rockefeller a stellar employee.

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NEW YORK (AP) - Investigators looking into a deadly New York City train derailment say no anomalies have been found with the train's brake system.

The Metro-North Railroad commuter train was traveling Sunday at 82 mph as it approached a 30 mph zone and jumped the tracks along a sharp curve. Four passengers died.

The National Transportation Safety Board says investigators haven't found any evidence of brake trouble during the train's nine previous stops and no problems with track signals. NTSB member Earl Weener said Tuesday there were "no anomalies."

The rail employees union says veteran engineer William Rockefeller was injured in the wreck and has cooperated with investigators. It says the NTSB investigation will show "there was no criminal intent with the operation of his train."

But Gov. Andrew Cuomo has said Rockefeller should be disciplined for "unjustifiable" speed.


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