December 5th, 2013
09:54 AM ET

Funerals Begin for Train Crash Victims as Investigation Continues

Two passengers on the Metro-North train that derailed in New York have filed a notice of claim against the commuter railroad, an initial step in a lawsuit seeking damages in connection with the accident.

Four people died and 67 others were injured in the crash. "The families of those killed in  Sunday's derailment in the Bronx began laying their loved ones to rest today," reports CNN's Nic Robertson.

The NTSB, meanwhile, has booted the rail union from its investigation into the derailment for violating confidentiality rules.

The agency made the announcement late Tuesday night, hours after a union representative told CNN the train engineer apparently "was nodding off and caught himself too late" before the accident.

In its announcement, the NTSB specifically cited those comments as the violation.

Anthony Bottalico, the union representative, told CNN that engineer William Rockefeller Jr. recognizes his responsibility in the incident.

"I think most people are leaning towards human error," Bottalico said.

Rockefeller's lawyer, Jeffrey Chartier, characterized what happened as "highway hypnosis." He said his client had had a full night's sleep before the crash and had no disciplinary record.

On Wednesday, Chartier said his client never blamed the accident on faulty brakes, disputing earlier statements attributed to Rockefeller.

"Prosecutors are not saying whether it could lead to criminal charges, waiting for the NTSB investigation," Robertson says.

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