A union representative has confirmed that William Rockefeller, the engineer of the Metro-North train that killed four and injured 67 others after derailing in the Bronx on Sunday, was "nodding off and caught himself too late." According to rep Anthony Bottalico, Rockefeller accepts responsibility for the tragedy.
CNN says that Jeffrey Chartier, Rockefeller's attorney, attributes Rockefeller's mistake to "highway hypnosis." Chartier adds that Rockefeller had a full night of sleep before the crash and that no prior disciplinary action was taken against him.
Rockefeller told investigators that just before the train derailed, he was "in a daze" and "[didn't] know what happened." When investigators asked what he was thinking about, he was unable to explain. National Transportation Safety Board representatives say that an alcohol breath test for Rockefeller came back negative, and that the brake and signal systems were fully functioning.
Though Rockefeller told investigators at the site that the brakes had failed, the train was able to make nine stops prior to the accident. NTSB member Earl Weener also said that the train features a "dead man's pedal" which is utilized to stop the train in the event of an emergency. It's still unclear if the emergency system was activated or not.