The derailment of the Metro-North commuter train in New York over the weekend appears to have been the result of human error. Train engineer William Rockefeller Jr. said that he was “nodding off” before the crash of the train, which left four dead with many more injured.

CNN spoke to union representative Anthony Bottalico speaking on behalf of Rockefeller, and the chat offered the clearest possible view of the accident which left a reported 67 people hurt. Bottalico said that Rockefeller “ was nodding off  and caught himself too late” just ahead of the Sunday (December 1) accident.

“I think most people are leaning towards human error,” Bottalico further added.

Rockefeller’s attorney, Jeffrey Chartier, issued a statement that his client was under “highway hypnosis” and was fully rested before his engineering duties. Preliminary investigations by the National Transportation Safety Board also ruled out the possibility of alcohol being a factor, and another unnamed law enforcement source cited fatigue may have been the issue.

Rockefeller said to authorities at the site that the breaks on the train failed him. The NTSB’ said the train was equipped with a system designed to stop the vehicle if a driver wasn’t able to operate, but other factors have to be determined to note why it didn’t work.

The NTSB also said yesterday that because of Bottalico’s comments, the train union will not be involved in the legal proceedings.

Hit the jump to see a video report on the latest news of the Metr0-North crash.


Photo: NBC 4 New York

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