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Robert Stolarik | AP
In this photo taken on Sunday, Metro North Railroad engineer William Rockefeller is wheeled on a stretcher away from the area where the commuter train derailed.

NYC train engineer caught self nodding, union exec says

YONKERS, N.Y. – A rail union official says a commuter train engineer caught himself nodding at the controls before the train started to veer off its tracks and derailed in New York City, killing four people.

Union leader Anthony Bottalico said Tuesday that William Rockefeller “caught himself, but he caught himself too late.”

Bottalico said Rockefeller told him he “nodded,” akin to a momentary lapse while driving a car.

The National Transportation Safety Board is interviewing Rockefeller. Member Earl Weener said it’s too soon to say whether the engineer was fully conscious around the time of Sunday’s wreck in the Bronx.

He said it’s too soon to say whether the wreck was the result of human error or a mechanical problem.

A lawyer for Rockefeller hasn’t returned calls. A former boss calls Rockefeller a stellar employee.

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