Union official: Engineer was 'nodding' before derailment - DC News FOX 5 DC WTTG

Bronx derailment

Union official: Engineer was 'nodding' before derailment

Posted: Updated:
In this photo taken on Sunday, Dec. 1, 2013, Metro North Railroad engineer William Rockefeller is wheeled on a stretcher away from the area where the commuter train he was operating derailed in the Bronx. (AP Photo/Robert Stolarik) In this photo taken on Sunday, Dec. 1, 2013, Metro North Railroad engineer William Rockefeller is wheeled on a stretcher away from the area where the commuter train he was operating derailed in the Bronx. (AP Photo/Robert Stolarik)
NEW YORK (MYFOXNY) -

The engineer who was operating the Metro-North train that derailed in the Bronx on Sunday caught himself "nodding" at the controls ahead of the deadly crash, according to a union official.

William Rockefeller "caught himself, but he caught himself too late," said union leader Anthony Bottalico, according to the Associated Press.

Earlier, DNAinfo.com reported that the engineer had dozed off for a few moments and woke up too late to stop the train.

The New York Post reported that Rockefeller had "zoned out" before the deadly incident. Sources told the Post that Rockefeller said he "was in a daze" and was jolted back to reality only after a whistle went off in the front of the train warning him that he was going too fast.

Four passengers were killed and more than 60 injured when the commuter train heading to Manhattan from Poughkeepsie derailed Sunday morning near the Spuyten Duyvil station.

The train was traveling 82 mph as it approached a curve where the derailment occurred with a 30 mph speed limit, said the NTSB.

Investigators have been interviewing crew members, but NTSB officials would not disclose what the engineer had told them.

The throttle went to idle six seconds before the derailed train came to a complete stop — "very late in the game" for a train going that fast" — and the brakes were fully engaged five seconds before the train stopped, saidNational Transportation Safety Board member Earl Weener

He said investigators were also examining the engineer's cellphone — apparently to determine whether he was operating the train while distracted.

Asked whether the tragedy was the result of human error or faulty brakes, Weener said: "The answer is, at this point in time, we can't tell."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.


  • Bronx NewsBronx NewsMore>>

  • The Big Idea

    Making New York City more energy efficient

    Making New York City more energy efficient

    Thursday, July 24 2014 10:20 PM EDT2014-07-25 02:20:19 GMT
    More than half the population of New York City rides public transportation to work. No other metropolis in this country even approaches that percentage or the MTA's total number of riders. For that reason, New York likely ranks as the most energy-efficient city in the nation. But what would it take to make the city even more energy-efficient or even self-sufficient?
    More than half the population of New York City rides public transportation to work. No other metropolis in this country even approaches that percentage or the MTA's total number of riders. For that reason, New York likely ranks as the most energy-efficient city in the nation. But what would it take to make the city even more energy-efficient or even self-sufficient?
  • NYC's pickup basketball games moving indoors

    NYC's pickup basketball games moving indoors

    Thursday, July 24 2014 5:54 PM EDT2014-07-24 21:54:18 GMT
    Believe it or not this, some say New York's outdoor basketball courts are a dying entity. Even Rucker Park in Harlem -- where Dr. J and countless others honed their skills -- used to be standing room only all times of the day. Now there's plenty of room to stand on most days.Basketball programs like one at Chelsea Piers are gaining popularity. That means the place to hoop it up for many appears to be indoors.
    Believe it or not this, some say New York's outdoor basketball courts are a dying entity. Even Rucker Park in Harlem -- where Dr. J and countless others honed their skills -- used to be standing room only all times of the day. Now there's plenty of room to stand on most days.Basketball programs like one at Chelsea Piers are gaining popularity. That means the place to hoop it up for many appears to be indoors.
  • Dunkin' Donuts cashiers will try to 'upsell' you in the afternoon

    Dunkin' Donuts cashiers will try to 'upsell' you in the afternoon

    Thursday, July 24 2014 2:30 PM EDT2014-07-24 18:30:38 GMT
    Dunkin' Donuts handout photoDunkin' Donuts handout photo
    If an iced coffee from Dunkin' Donuts is part of your afternoon routine, expect a nudge to buy a cookie or doughnut you didn't plan on. Dunkin' Brands CEO Nigel Travis said in a phone interview Thursday that the company is pushing to get its cashiers to "upsell" to afternoon customers. It's part of an effort to increase sales after stores have emptied out after the morning rush.
    If an iced coffee from Dunkin' Donuts is part of your afternoon routine, expect a nudge to buy a cookie or doughnut you didn't plan on. Dunkin' Brands CEO Nigel Travis said in a phone interview Thursday that the company is pushing to get its cashiers to "upsell" to afternoon customers. It's part of an effort to increase sales after stores have emptied out after the morning rush.
Powered by WorldNow

WTTG FOX 5 & myfoxdc
5151 Wisconsin Ave. NW
Washington, DC 20016
Main Number: (202) 244-5151
Newsroom: (202) 895-3000
fox5tips@wttg.com

Didn't find what you were looking for?
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Fox Television Stations, Inc. and Worldnow. All Rights Reserved.
Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Ad Choices