West 4th, A Train to Borough Hall, transfer. / Be still and listen for your god's whisper. /
Don't touch emergency breaks unless you've heard the call. / Electric motors are the prettiest transmitters of all. / They're always so slow. / There's always a line. / They're never on time. / I can make them on time.
Darius McCollum loves the subway. For twenty years, he has been impersonating MTA employees. An urban, gritty theatrical ride based on the true story of a boy who loved trains too much.
Darius McCollum is in trouble again. The man who has spent a third of his life in jail for his various attempts to infiltrate New York transit systems was arrested again last week, charged with criminal impersonation and violating the conditions of his parole, which prevented him from owning any railroad paraphernalia. He had an MTA badge, construction hat and train conductor manuals in his possession.
The best thing for this man and the entire city would be for him to be hired by the MTA in some sort of official capacity - if not actually driving trains, then working in the transit museum or somesuch. But I don't know him, so I don't know.
He has long vexed transit officials, who posted his picture at stations and depots. But to a small band of dedicated supporters and friends, Mr. McCollum is the ultimate example of the system's failing someone who badly needs help.
Mr. McCollum was charged yesterday with criminal impersonation, one day after the police arrested him at Macombs Place and 150th Street in Manhattan on allegations that he broke parole and unlawfully had transit paraphernalia. Mr. McCollum, whose transit-system rap sheet began more than a quarter-century ago, had a Metropolitan Transportation Authority-style badge, a construction hat and train conductor manuals, which violated his parole terms, a police official said.
Brown said that the defendant walked out of the train yard when his identification was called into question and when apprehended had in his possession various railroad keys which he admitted he had stolen including a key able to operate an M-7 locomotive.
District Attorney Brown said, “The defendant has admitted his guilt, waived his right to appeal and now begins serving a prison sentence for his crime. His record reveals repeated instances of lawbreaking preceding this felony offense and the term of imprisonment imposed by the court is warranted.”
Surely someone has voiced the obvious solution to the problem of Darius McCollum's obsession with the New York City Transit Authority: Give him a job.
On May 31 of this year (2002), Darius will have spent 799 days in prison. At his first parole hearing, 912 days into his sentence, the D.A.'s office will present his history of violations. His full sentence comes to 1,825 days.
Darius McCollum was a very high profile case for the AS community that was outraged that the judge literally REFUSED to have him evaluated for AS and would NOT let this into the record. His trial was covered by the media nationwide.
"Mr. McCollum has no understanding of the consequences of his actions and has no perception of his behaviors being wrong," says a psychiatric report obtained by the Daily News. "He [has] no insight into the cause of his behaviors and does not have a concept of guilt for his behavior."
Darius McCollum is, in a sense, the Frank Abagnale Jr. of the train yards. Darius, like Frank, started young in crime. Since his original foray, back when he was a student in a technical high school, Darius has been arrested over and over invariably for transit related offenses. He has at one time or another impersonated a conductor, a motorman and a superintendent. He has put out track fires, helped out flag crews and helped inspect malfunctioning trains for debris. His knowledge of the transit system is encyclopedic and legendary. Darius is as much the trainman's trainman as Abagnale was a forger's forger. And yet there is a critical difference between them.