The operator of the Metro-North train that derailed in the Bronx, killing four passengers and injuring over 60 others, was reportedly sleeping or "zoned out." This comes a day after the National Transportation Safety Board found that the train was traveling at 82 mph at the sharp turn in Sputyen Duyvil—well over the 30 mph recommended speed.

Engineer William Rockefeller "told investigators that he had zoned out as the train was barreling toward the bend — and that he was jolted back to reality only after a whistle went off warning him he was going dangerously fast," according to The Post's source. The source also says that when Rockefeller realized what was happening, he "jammed on the brakes... According to data from the train’s two 'black box' recording devices, Rockefeller didn’t apply the brakes until just five seconds before the derailment."

DNAinfo's sources characterize Rockefeller as "doz[ing] off for a few fateful moments... [S]ources said he virtually admitted that he fell asleep as the train roared through a straight, 70 mph zone, heading toward one of the sharpest curves on the 75-mile trip that started at 5:54 a.m in Poughkeepsie, bound for New York City. They believe the rumbling of the train roaring through the head of the curve awakened Rockefeller and he hit the brake immediately."

Rockefeller was telling investigators that the brakes failed after the Sunday derailment. However, the brakes had worked on the previous stops. Investigators also confiscated his cellphone to see if he was texting before the incident and had retrieved two data recorders from the train. While the NTSB is looking at a possible mechanical error, an NTSB investigator said, "Part of our investigation, as in all investigations, is to look at human performance factors."

The Times has some details about Rockefeller, the 46-year-old train operator:

For those close to Mr. Rockefeller, who rose from the ranks of Grand Central Terminal custodians to a six-figure job as an engineer, Sunday’s crash was particularly harrowing. Friends described Mr. Rockefeller as a mechanically inclined tinkerer and a former volunteer firefighter. Michael McLendon, a friend and former boss, recalled his early days on the job at Grand Central in the 1990s.

After taking a job at Metro-North’s control center at the terminal, Mr. McLendon said, Mr. Rockefeller’s attention turned toward train engineering. [Anthony Bottalico, the acting director of the Association of Commuter Rail Employees] said this shift on the Hudson line had been his regular job since Nov. 17, though he said Mr. Rockefeller was a veteran of the line and was familiar with the route. It was not an overtime shift, he said.

Governor Cuomo said yesterday, "NTSB’s finding that the train was traveling more than double the set speed limit makes clear that, as we suspected, extreme speed was a central cause of this crash. My administration will continue to work in close coordination with the NTSB in their ongoing investigation. The lives that were lost yesterday are a stark reminder that protecting the safety of all New Yorkers must be our top priority. When the investigation concludes, we will make sure that any responsible parties are held accountable. My thoughts and prayers continue to be with the families of the victims of yesterday’s crash."