Metro-North engineer William Rockefeller, who was at the controls of the train that careened off the tracks leaving four passengers dead, may have briefly fallen asleep prior to the fatal crash.

Metro-North Engineer Dozed Off

Rockefeller, a veteran engineer with the railroad, reportedly admitted in statements to investigators that he may have fallen asleep in the moments before the train approached the dangerous curve, according to DNAinfo New York. When Rockefeller woke up, the train was travelling at 82 mph – more than 50 mph over the limit at the hazardous point in the route.

It’s believed that Rockefeller hit the brake upon rising, but failed to bring the train down to a speed that could handle the curve. Consequently, train cars slid of the tracks, stopping on the edge of the Harlem River. In addition to the fatalities, 60 passengers were injured and required medical attention.

It is not believed that Rockefeller, who’s been employed by Metro-North for 20 years – the last 11 of which he’s served as an engineer, was under the influence of drugs or alcohol. He is not thought to have been using his cell phone in the time leading up to the crash either.

Rockefeller was released from the hospital on Monday and has been fully cooperating with investigators.

– Chelsea Regan

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