Brooklyn man famous for his A-train joyride as teenager in 1993 dies at 37

(PIX11) –Twenty years ago, as a 16-year-old boy, Keron Thomas made headlines when he commandeered an A train heading to Queens and took passengers on a 85-stop joyride, nobody the wiser that a kid was driving the train.

Thomas, who went on to own a truck company, died Monday after battling heart disease, the New York Daily News  reported. He was 37.

train ride

Keron Thomas’ path on the A train

In 1993, he spent months researching the subway system, learning the tricks of the trade. He read books and manuals tirelessly — his father fondly recalled his nickname “the human MapQuest.”

As he prepared for his big ride, Thomas dressed in a blue New York City Transit uniform and befriended subway workers, unaware they were in the company of a teen train enthusiast.

In May 8, 1993, he posed as a worker on the big day. He was assigned to the A train. He boarded at the 207th st station and made every one of the 85 stops to Queens successfully — transporting an estimated 2,000 people.

The three-hour joyride ended when the emergency brakes were accidentally triggered as he almost completed the round trip to Manhattan — and he didn’t know what to do. When a transit worker showed up at the scene, Thomas was taken away for  a drug and alcohol test, the New York Times reported at the time.

momma

Thomas’ mother expressed shock that he’d actually commandeer a train.

New Yorkers were largely  “charmed” by the outlaw conductor who only wanted to be a train motorman.

In an 1993 interview with PIX11 reporter Stephanie Shelton, commuters said what should happen to Thomas. Responses ranged from ” I woulda hired him on the spot!” and “I’d give him a chance to do what he wanted to do” to “I would’ve thrown his ass in jail!”

thomas

Keron Thomas was charged with reckless endangerment.

His shocked mother told PIX11 that “ever since he came to Bed-Stuy from Trinidad three years ago, he has lived, breathed, and dreamed subway trains.”

“He’d pretend for hours … never in my wildest dreams would I think he’d do something like that,” his mother said.

In court, Thomas immediately apologized to the judge, and received 3 years probation. Less than a year later, he was arrested for stabbing a 17-year old in a dice game. He pleaded not guilty.

His loved ones celebrated his joyful life.

“He lived a short life, but it was fulfilling,” his sister told The News.

Web produced by Allison Yang

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 538 other followers