Union exec: NYC train engineer caught self nodding - 13 WTHR Indianapolis

Union exec: NYC train engineer caught self nodding


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.


Over 60 people were injured in the crash.

NTSB member Earl Weener says information from the train's two data recorders shows the train was going 82 mph on a turn when it should have been going no more than 30 mph.

In addition to the NTSB probe, the New York Police Department is conducting its own investigation with assistance from the Bronx district attorney's office in the event the derailment becomes a criminal case.

Some safety experts say the tragedy might not have happened if Metro-North had what's called positive train control technology. Metro-North is working on it. But, like many rail lines, Metro-North has advocated for extending a 2015 deadline to implement the costly and complicated system.

Meanwhile, Metro-North has been providing bus service between Yonkers and the subway terminal at 242nd Street as repair work continues at the site of the derailment. 
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