News on the go: Dec. 4, 2013

Carrie Blazina

A union official said Tuesday the Metro-North Railroad engineer whose train derailed in New York on Sunday and killed four people caught himself nodding off just before the train derailed. William Rockefeller has worked for the company for more than a decade, and on the day of the crash, a federal official said Rockefeller was working a shift that had been his norm for about two weeks, and he had time to get enough sleep before work. Union leaders and supervisors defended Rockefeller as an exemplary employee who was distraught about the deaths in the crash. Read full story here.

Two consultants concluded Tuesday that Cleveland kidnapper Ariel Castro did kill himself when he was found dead Sept. 3 though earlier reports had raised the possibility that he died accidentally of autoerotic asphyxiation. The two national experts on prison conditions who wrote Tuesday’s report said Castro was frustrated by food and living conditions in the prison and could not face living the rest of his life there. Castro pleaded guilty in June to kidnapping, imprisoning and raping three women in his Cleveland home. Read full story here.

A federal judge ruled Tuesday that Detroit can use bankruptcy to ease its debts and cut pensions and said the city should have filed years ago. The judge said the city’s emergency manager did not negotiate in good faith prior to the filing, but there were so many creditors to keep track of that this might have been impossible. Detroit has said it is unable to pay its $18 billion in debt and filed for bankruptcy in July.