Home / National News / Was NY Train Engineer in a Trance Before Deadly Derailment?


(NEW YORK) — The engineer of the Metro North train that derailed in the Bronx, N.Y., on Sunday, leaving four passengers dead and dozens injured, told federal investigators that he fell into a state of “highway hypnosis,” sources told ABC News.

William Rockefeller, who was also hurt in the derailment, made the statement during a three-hour debriefing with the National Transportation Safety Board.

Rockefeller, 46, told investigators he remembers nothing about what happened just prior to the derailment which happened as the train was traveling at 82 mph when it reached a sharp curve that is supposed to be taken at 30 mph.

Black boxes recovered from the site indicate that Rockefeller didn’t apply the brakes until just five seconds before the derailment.

According to NTSB official Earl Weener, Rockefeller was on the second day of a five-day shift, seemed well-rested and was familiar with the train route from Poughkeepsie to Manhattan’s Grand Central Station.

However, Weener was hesitant to talk about comments Rockefeller reportedly made to police about being “zoned out” at the time of the crash.

Although there was no signs of alcohol on his breath, other tests are being conducted on the engineer.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


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