Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

December 4, 2013

URGENT Lawyer: NY engineer had ’daze’ before train wreck

Associated Press

YONKER, N.Y. — An attorney says a New York train engineer experienced a nod or “a daze” before his train derailed at a curve, killing four passengers.

Attorney Jeffrey Chartier (chahr-tee-YAY’) accompanied engineer William Rockefeller to his interview with National Transportation Safety Board investigators and described the account Rockefeller gave Tuesday.

He says Rockefeller’s daze was “almost like road fatigue” or the phenomenon sometimes called highway hypnosis.

A rail union official says the engineer acknowledged catching himself nodding at the controls.

The NTSB says the Metro-North Railroad commuter train went into the curve at 82 mph, nearly three times the 30 mph limit. It won’t comment on the engineer’s level of alertness before the Sunday morning wreck.

It says it’s too soon to say whether the accident was caused by human error. But it says investigators have found no problems with the train’s brakes.