Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

NATION [Derived Headline]

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

NATION [Derived Headline]

Article excerpt

Lawyer: Train engineer in 'daze' before crash

YONKERS, N.Y. - An engineer whose speeding commuter train ran off the rails along a curve, killing four people, experienced a hypnosis-like "daze" and nodded at the controls just before the wreck, and by the time he caught himself it was too late, people representing him said Tuesday.

Attorney Jeffrey Chartier accompanied engineer William Rockefeller to his interview with National Transportation Safety Board investigators and described the account Mr. Rockefeller gave. Mr. Chartier said the engineer experienced a nod or "a daze," almost like road fatigue or the phenomenon sometimes called highway hypnosis. He couldn't say how long it lasted.

What Mr. Rockefeller remembers is "operating the train, coming to a section where the track was still clear - then, all of a sudden, feeling something was wrong and hitting the brakes," Mr. Chartier said. "... He felt something was not right, and he hit the brakes."

Mr. Rockefeller "basically nodded," said Anthony Bottalico, leader of the rail employees union, relating what he said the engineer told him.

"He had the equivalent of what we all have when we drive a car," Mr. Bottalico said. "That is, you sometimes have a momentary nod or whatever that might be."

Federal investigators wouldn't comment on Mr. Rockefeller's level of alertness around the time of the Sunday morning wreck in the Bronx.

Questions about Rockefeller's role mounted rapidly after investigators disclosed on Monday that the Metro-North Railroad commuter train jumped the tracks after going into a curve at 82 mph, or nearly three times the 30 mph speed limit.

Stocks gyrate on economic reports

NEW YORK - Stocks edged lower this afternoon as investors weighed a pair of economic reports and the outlook for the Federal Reserve's economic stimulus program.

The stock market dropped in early trading after a payroll company reported that U.S. businesses added the most jobs in a year last month as manufacturing and construction expanded. Investors worried that this latest sign of economic expansion could mean that the Fed will pull back on its stimulus sooner than previously expected. …

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