Train Engineer Possibly Asleep at the Wheel

Cleanup and investigation continue into the Dec. 1 train wreck. Photo: Metro North.
Cleanup and investigation continue into the Dec. 1 train wreck. Photo: Metro North.
Various news outlets are reporting Tuesday morning that Metro-North engineer William Rockefeller, 46, of Germantown, may have fallen asleep at the wheel before his speeding train derailed Sunday killing four. 

The New York Daily News reports that he was "consciously asleep" or "zoned out" moments before the incident, awaking to brake too late. Enforcement sources reportedly told the Daily News that Rockefeller says he recalls nothing and isn't talking to authorities at this point, on the advice of his union. 

“At this point, we are not aware of any problems or anomalies with the brakes,” said Earl Weener of the National Transportation Safety Board.

Officials have noted that the train made nine stops successfully before reaching this curve in the Bronx. The train was found, from black box records, to be going 82 mph in a zone that switches from 70 mph to 30 mph.

Investigators are reportedly looking into Rockefeller's cell phone use, doing toxicology tests, and considering the possibility of him logging in too many hours on the job. Rockefeller is said to have an untarnished 11-year record with Metro-North.

Trying to jumpstart a temporary parking program near Harlem Line train stations, Greenburgh Town Supervisor Paul Feiner is asking for volunteers who can offer a driveway spot to commuters forced off the Hudson Line by Sunday's deadly train wreck. 

Here's the text of his proposal:

Greenburgh is known for our angels. When it snows volunteer snow angels pitch in and help shovel driveways of seniors and the disabled. After last years hurricane we matched those who had no power with those who have power---freezing residents were housed at comfortable  homes within the town. Can't get rid of your TV? Contact our TV angels. They will remove the TV from senior citizen homes and drop it off at the highway garage.

Residents of the villages within Greenburgh take the Hudson line to work. The recent Bronx Metro North train tragedy over the weekend will inconvenience Hudson line commuters who have limited train service to NYC. Many would love to take the train from Scarsdale, Hartsdale, White Plains or North White Plains to NYC. The problem: Lack of parking.

One of our former house angels came up with a great idea: she offered 4 parking spaces at her home until the Hudson line is back in service. She requested that her name not be released  publicly. There may be others who would like to help our neighbors who reside in the river villages. If you live within walking distance of the Hartsdale, Scarsdale, White Plains or N White Plains train station and would be willing to donate some parking spaces at your home to commuters who want to take the Harlem line to work, please advise by e mailing me at pfeiner@greenburghny.com. If you live in the villages and want to take advantage of the program, I will try to match you up with a volunteer parking angel.

This is what community is about---neighbors helping neighbors.

Meanwhile, Metro North continues to run buses between Yonkers and the 242nd subway stop for those still using the limited service on the Hudson Line to get in and out of NYC.

Read more about the derailment on Patch.

Train Was Traveling at 82 MPH into Curve
Kensico Dam Commuters: Trains are Crowded but Quiet
$42K Raised for Family of Jim Lovell, Local Train Crash Victim
Montrose Resident: Local Train Crash Victim 'Did Everything for his Family'
Ossining's Sunshine Home Remembers Kisook Ahn, Killed in Derailment
Commuters' Group Concerned About Year of Accidents
Gov. Cuomo: 'Any Parties Involved in Derailment Will Be Held Responsible
Bronx Train Derailment Shuts Metro-North Hudson Line
Victims Were From Cold Spring, Montrose, Newburgh, Queens
Can't Bear the Tough Commute? Work Here in Westchester


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