The first thing the Metro-North train operator allegedly told investigators after Sunday's horrific derailment in the Bronx was, “I was in a daze," according to law-enforcement sources who spoke with the Post and the News. According to the latter's source, operator William Rockefeller Jr. also said, "I don’t know what I was thinking about and the next thing I know I was hitting the brakes."

Another Post source described Rockefeller's explanation thus: "It’s akin to like driving a car, listening to your favorite song on the radio and zoning out on it and then all of sudden, you say, ‘Oh s-t, I better slow down.' " The NTSB announced yesterday that the train was traveling 82 mph when it entered the sharp turn in Spuyten Duyvil—well over the 30 mph recommended speed.

Another source familiar with Rockefeller’s account told the Times that he described his state before the derailment as “almost hypnotized... That place where you’re not asleep and you’re not 100 percent awake." A preliminary review of Rockefeller's cell phone does not indicate that he was using it to text or call, but investigators are also reviewing data from nearby cell sites "to conclusively determine whether he had been using the phone that was seized, or possibly another device," the Times reports.

By the time Rockefeller snapped out of his "daze," it was too late. He dumped the brakes, but the train was going too fast for the turn and derailed, killing four passengers and injuring over sixty more. Among them was 58-year-old dentist and retired Army colonel Dr. Denise Williams, who is expected to be the first to sue Metro-North for the crash.

Williams, an Orange County resident who was en route to NYC for a dental convention, is now hospitalized with a fractured neck, broken shoulder, multiple fractures of the spine, and a broken ribcage. Her attorney intends to file a notice of claim against the transit agency