More Details Surface About Metro-North Train Derailment

Investigators are trying to uncover if it was mechanical problems or human error that caused a commuter train to crash in New York that claimed four lives. INSIDE EDITION reports.

Was the engineer of the train that derailed near New York City sleeping?

According to the website DNA Info, the engineer, William Rockefeller, may have been "dozing."  

An extraordinary photo on the front page of the New York Post showed Rockefeller walking away from the crash scene unscathed while injured passengers lay around him. Rockefeller was later taken by stretcher and quickly released from a local hospital. He reportedly told investigators that he "zoned out" as the train was barreling towards a sharp curve.

"He was just somehow inattentive,'' a source said.

Another TV station described him as being so out of it, in terms of sleep deprivation, that he was, "semiconscious."

The train was going 82 miles-an-hour when it derailed—52 miles over the speed limit in that section of track.

The engineer may have a famous name but he's not one of those Rockefellers—46 year old William Rockefeller lives in a modest home in rural Germantown, New York.

INSIDE EDITION spoke to Mark Aesch, a transporation safety expert, "There are a number of different technologies in place which give both visual and audio warnings to the operator, but the conductor has to actually respond to that. It appears that didn't happen in this situtaion."

The deadly derailment could be the lastest in a string of terrible train disasters involving sleeping or distracted engineers. In 2008, 25 people perished when a communter train slammed head on into a  freight train. The driver of the commuter train was distracted sending texts as he ran through a red signal. He was killed.

And just five months ago, a train slid off the rails in Spain. The driver admitted he was going 125 miles an hour, more than twice the speed limit, and that he was talking on his cell phone. Seventy-nine people lost their lives in that train tragedy.

Aesch commented about how crucial it is for a conductor to be attentive, "Just like a doctor has to be absolutely focused when he or she is in the operator room, the same thing is true with a conductor when he or she is in front of train. The conductor has hundreds of peoples lives in his or her hands, and we need 100% of the conductor's focused attention."