Bloomberg News

N.Y. Train Operator Said to Have Lost Focus Before Fatal Crash

December 03, 2013

Metro-North Railroad Train Crash

Emergency crews work at the scene of a Metro-North Railroad train derailment in the Bronx borough of New York, on Dec 1, 2013. The train was bound for New York's Grand Central Station. Photographer: Timothy Clary/AFP via Getty Images

Investigators believe the driver of a Metro-North train lost focus just before the train hit a sharp curve and jumped the tracks, killing four people and seriously injuring 11, according to a person familiar with the investigation.

The driver, William Rockefeller, is believed to have not been paying attention, based on statements he made in interviews immediately after the accident, the person said. It’s unclear if he was asleep, the person said.

The person spoke on the condition of anonymity because details of the federal investigation into the crash aren’t yet public.

To contact the reporter on this story: Freeman Klopott in Albany at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Mark Schoifet at

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