Schumer Speaks Out on The Rehire of Metro North Engineer

Following the crash of a Metro-North train that killed four and injured dozens on December 1, Senator Charles Schumer (D-New York) blasted the commuter railroad for its earlier rehiring practices. The New York Post reported that the railroad had rehired engineer Daniel O’Brien after he caused a crash in 1987 that injured 27 passengers. Engineer William Rockefeller, suspected of dozing on the December 1 run to New York City, has been suspended without pay while the investigation continues. If you or a loved were in this horrific accident, contact an MTA Accident Attorney to review your case and get the ball rolling for you.

“It’s unacceptable,” declared Schumer, “to have an employee with a bad record.” He added that an employee with an unsafe record shouldn’t “be at the helm of an engine that’s carrying hundreds of people.”


Daniel O’Brien was fired in 1987 after he passed a stop sign and crashed his train into another train packed with some 500 commuters. He was rehired in 1999. In 2012, he was given a 30-suspension for passing another stop sign at Grand Central Terminal in New York City. The suspension was not imposed for a year.

There has been no direct comment from an MTA Accident Attorney on the December crash. However the Metropolitan Transit Authority has announced new safety measures. Engineers will be warned when trains approach the curve at the Spuyten Duyvil station, where the wreck occurred. If the train’s speed does not slow to the 30 mph limit, an emergency brake will be applied automatically. On the December 1 run, the train engineered by Rockefeller was apparently traveling at 82 mph.

Schumer’s ire and that of other New York officials, including Governor Andrew Cuomo, was not limited to the fact that engineer O’Brien had been rehired. Many cite the problem as belonging to the railroad itself. It should be no surprise, they point out, that long stretches of rail time when most people are asleep tends to be boring. Why aren’t there warning devices and/or whistles to keep them awake and aware?

Some say the railroad has long been focused more on saving money than on safety precautions. A Metro-North spokesperson declared the railroad was always “happy to work with elected officials on ideas to improve safety.” There was no comment on this statement from Chuck Schumer.

Contact A Trusted MTA Accident Attorney

If you or someone you know either was injured in the Metro North Train accident or have been injured in an MTA related accident, call New York MTA accident lawyer Edelsteins, Faegenburg & Brown, LLP. at (212) 424-1999 or (718) 875-3550 to schedule a consultation at no cost to you. The lawyers at Edelstein, Faegenburg & Brown are dedicated to working hard to reach the maximum settlement verdict for their clients. Their offices are located in Manhattan and Brooklyn, right across from the Brooklyn Supreme Court.