A 30-year obsession for stealing and driving buses and subway trains may finally mean some hard hard time in prison for Darius McCollum
A 30-year obsession for stealing and driving buses and subway trains may finally mean some hard hard time in prison for Darius McCollum -
Darius McCollum is not a criminal — he just loves driving buses and subway trains.
That’s the defense his lawyer will use when McCollum’s trial on grand larceny charges starts April 3 in Queens. He faces a maximum of 15 years in prison.
McCollum, 46, who has been arrested 27 times for similar offenses, will claim he never intended to steal a Trailways bus from a New Jersey depot in August 2010.
He only wanted to take it for a ride, picking up passengers and dropping them off at Kennedy Airport along the way, his lawyer, Stephen Jackson, says.
“He’s never, ever tried to benefit personally from the theft of a vehicle,” Jackson said Thursday after a hearing in Queens Supreme Court. “This is a glorified unauthorized use of a vehicle case, a misdemeanor.”
Jackson wants a psychiatrist to testify about McCollum’s three-decade obsession, which includes driving an E train filled with passengers from 34th St. to the World Trade Center when he was 15.
“His mental health history will show he doesn’t do this intentionally,” Jackson said. He said McCollum’s obsession is propelled by Asperger’s, a form of autism.
McCollum has been at Rikers Island since his arrest in August 2010. So far, prosecutors have refused to offer a plea deal.