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Train Tragedy: Excessive Speed, Braking Problems, Cited as Potential Factors In The Deadly Metro-North Derailment

The horrific Metro-North train derailment that killed four and injured more than 60 early Sunday morning has left countless grappling for answers in its aftermath.
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    NEW YORK, NY, December 03, 2013 /24-7PressRelease/ -- The horrific Metro-North train derailment that killed four and injured more than 60 early Sunday morning has left countless grappling for answers in its aftermath. Investigations continue feverishly as authorities search for the cause, or causes, of the tragic accident that occurred when a Grand Central Terminal-bound train derailed in the Bronx at about 7:22a.m.

The tragic derailment occurred just north of the Spuyten Duyvil station, where there is a sharp curve in the train tracks. The curve has a speed limit of 30mph. According to officials, trains normally slow from 70mph down to 30mph to safely make the curve. The distance over which the trains accomplish the 40mph decrease in speed was not released. The curve, the speed limits and the design of the tracks will undoubtedly be investigated, and the results could impact what entities or municipalities may be legally responsible for the derailment. The black box data recorder, which records the trains speed, has been recovered and is being analyzed.

Early reports indicated that the train's operator, William "Bill" Rockefeller, Jr., blamed a brake malfunction, saying that he tried to apply the brakes but the train did not respond and slow down. More recent reports identify speed and human error as contributing factors, according to statements from New York Governor Andrew Cuomo. Earlier Governor Cuomo was quoted as stating, "There has to be another factor. It can't just be the curve." Other reports indicate that black box data analysis may provide insight on whether the operator attempted to engage the brakes.

The nightmare accident ejected some passengers and thrust others about the train cars as all seven train cars, and the locomotive pushing them, left the tracks. Some of the train cars flipped or rolled over, some filled with smoke, many windows reportedly burst and the train cars were filled with dirt, rocks and other debris that were thrown about the cars along with the passengers. The impact was nothing short of travesty. The four fatalities were: James Lovell, 58, a father of four from Cold Spring, Putnam County; Ahn Kisook, 35 a nurse from Woodside, Queens; Donna Smith, 54, a paralegal from Newburgh, Orange County; and James Ferrari, 59, from Montrose, Westchester County. Injured survivors were taken to area hospitals including, St. Barnabas, New York-Presbyterian Hospital Columbia and Jacobi Medical Center. Many of the injured victims reportedly remain in critical or serious conditions. One man, 43-year-old Samuel Rivera from Westchester County, suffered a spinal injury, is feared paralyzed.

The tragic derailment left a harrowing scene, which emergency personnel, including more than 100 responders from the New York Fire Department alone, attended to with unflappable and heroic rescue efforts.

The scene remains under investigation by the State Metropolitan Transportation Authority (the parent company of Metro-North) and the National Transportation Safety Board. Hudson Line service has been suspended until further notice. Alternate transportation services for commuters are being provided by the MTA (

As investigators reportedly continue working on determining the causes of the derailment, the many victims and their families grapple with their injuries and fears. Regardless of when investigations end and results are released, the massive effects of the tragic event will continue for a long time for many, forever for some. The aftermath is an extremely difficult and trying time for the families and victims, especially so close to the holidays.

Block O'Toole & Murphy is committed to aiding victims and their families during these very difficult times, and protecting their legal rights after tragic accidents. To learn more about these lawyers, you can review the firm website at For a free consultation, you can contact them at 212.736.5300. ... ssues.html ... 2583.story ... -york?lite ... -1.1533963 ... ml#photo=1

Block O'Toole & Murphy is one of the premier personal injury law firms in New York City. Our New York injury attorneys know the pain, devastation and uncertainty that follow a serious injury.

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