The N.J. Transit engineer Thomas Gallagher who was at the controls of the commuter train that crashed into the Hoboken, N.J. station.
(Norman Y. Lono/for New York Daily News)
NEW YORK DAILY NEWS
Updated: Wednesday, November 16, 2016, 6:44 PM
The engineer at the controls of a commuter train that slammed into a New Jersey rail station killing a woman on the platform suffered from a form of sleep apnea that had not been diagnosed, according to a report.
Thomas Gallagher, 48, told investigators he had no memory of the rush-hour crash, and remembered waking up on the floor after his train barreled into the Hoboken station Sept. 29 at twice the 10 mph. speed limit.
According to the Associated Press, Gallagher received the diagnosis after the accident.
Officials are investigating Gallagher’s health as a possible cause in the crash, the report said.
The crash killed Fabiola Bittar de Kroon, a corporate lawyer, 34, who was standing on a platform at the station when debris from the out-of-control train killed her at 8:45 a.m.
A portion of the terminal collapsed after the collision, and 108 people on the train and platform were injured.
De Kroon had just dropped her 1-year-old daughter off at daycare before she entered the terminal.
According to the National Transportation Safety Board, Gallagher’s day began at 6:46 a.m. Officials said he was fully rested and had his cell phone off and stored.
He was released from the hospital the day after the crash.
“My client was diagnosed with severe sleep apnea just recently, during an examination by an expert that I arranged after the accident,” Gallagher’s attorney, Jack Arseneault, told WCBS-TV in a statement. “Those results were forwarded to the NTSB on Oct. 31.
A derailed New Jersey Transit train is seen under a collapsed roof.
“The diagnosis made sense to Mr. Gallagher in light of the fact he couldn’t remember anything about the crash. The last thing he remembers was checking his speed at 10 mph and blowing the horn then ringing the bell as he approached the station.”
Arseneault said Gallagher underwent a physical in July and was cleared for duty.
Gallagher, of Morris Plains, a 29-year transit veteran, is married and has two daughters.
Officials investigating a deadly Metro North derailment in 2014 determined that the engineer in that crash, William Rockefeller, had severe obstructive sleep apnea.
Rockefeller told a union official that he had nodded and zoned out before the train derailed along a curve in Spuyten Duyvil.
Four people were killed, and more than 70 people were injured in that crash.
Sleep apnea is a potentially serious sleep disorder in which breathing repeatedly stops and starts, according to the Mayo Clinic.
Doctors said people with sleep apnea often experience severe daytime drowsiness and can fall asleep at work and even while driving.