Man Arrested 30 Times For Impersonating a Subway Driver

Darius McCollum has a peculiar hobby: impersonating New York transit staff, stealing buses and trains, and then driving them away. He once stole a bus at Penn Station and drove it — full of passengers — to New York’s Kennedy Airport. Another time, he responded to an emergency stop call on the subway at 57th Street in Manhattan, clearing passengers safely and correctly diagnosing the problem — in full uniform — before being caught by the train driver, who had seen his face on a wanted poster. McCollum grew up in Jamaica, Queens, near the terminal of the F train at 179th street, where he would spend hundreds of hours watching the trains come and go. By the time he was eight he had memorized the entire subway network, and as a teenager he regularly skipped school to ride the subway. He became friends with MTA workers, who taught him how to drive trains, maintain tracks and signals, and how to direct traffic. Then someone gave him his first MTA uniform, and the rest is history. McCollum, who has been diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome, has often said that he would seek therapy, but always ends up back on the rails or behind the wheel of a bus. He has applied and been refused real transit authority work several times. Lori Shery, President of the Asperger Syndrome Education Network, says people are overlooking the obvious. "I feel that if an agency really took an interest in him and could give him employment in the field of transportation, that would make a world of difference.”