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tv   Nightline  ABC  January 4, 2017 12:37am-1:08am PST

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this is "nightline." >> tonight, off the rails. he's been driving new york city subways for more than 30 years. but he's not an employee. arrested 32 times for impersonating a transit worker. >> i can't seem to have my urges and my impulses under control. >> diagnosed with asperger's, driven by unstoppable compulsion. instead of treatment he's in prison. is that where he belongs? plus the fisher sisters. jolie and tricia lee reflecting on their beloved sister carrie fisher. >> we had the coolest big sister in the world. she was a bad-ass, gun-toting princess. >> the final moments at carrie's bedside and the special side of their sister that the public never knew.
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♪ let's go >> and janet jackson embarking on the escapade of motherhood. giving birth to her first child at 50 years old with a very unique name. first tonight the "nightline 5." >> looking for balance in your digestive system? try align probiotic. for nonstop sweet treat goodness hold on to your tiara kind of day. get 24/7 digestive support with align. now in kids' chewables. beyond is a natural pet food that goes beyond assuming ingredients are safe to knowing they are. going beyond expectations. because our pets deserve it. beyond. natural pet food. >> and number one is coming up in just 60 seconds.
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good evening and thanks for joining us. tonight you're going to meet a man whose life has been ruined by his own obsessive urges. diagnosed with asperger's he says he's plagued by unyielding desire to drive public trains and buses. so much so that when he sees one of them he says he can't stop himself from hopping aboard and driving away. he's been jailed over and over again but he says he's never been given treatment, so does he need punishment or help? here's abc's john donvan. >> reporter: the trains of the new york city subway. rumbling. screeching. moving nearly 6 million riders a day. and also triggering something in a man named darius mccullum. a compulsion. in a way, a love that has ruined his life. >> a manhattan man is getting a free ride to prison. >> he started hijacking modes of city transportation before i was even born.
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>> there's a man that really likes trains a lot. >> police have just caught a guy for the 23rd time trying to pose as an mta worker. >> a notorious new york city public transit bandit. >> mccullum's is a unique and troubled new york story. >> reporter: perhaps you remember hearing years ago about a 15-year-old new york boy arrested for sneaking into the driver's cab of a subway train and taking it for a ride. >> good morning, passengers. the dynamite d train next stop -- please step up carefully and next stop will be sixth avenue -- >> reporter: it seemed amazing he knew how to handle controls, kept the train on schedule, announcing every stop, letting passengers on and off. >> news 4 new york. officials were stunned to say the least when they heard a 15-year-old queens boy had hijacked a subway train and taken it for a joyride, stopped at stations, let some passengers
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get on and off, had a fine time. >> reporter: this kid needs to get some counseling. but obviously he wasn't trying to hurt anybody. so whatever happened to that kid? >> it's a downpour here. as we make our way towards riker's island, new york city's jail, i'm going to see darius mccullum for the first time in at least three years. he was in jail. he got out. and now he's back in jail. >> reporter: riker's island. new york's notorious jail. >> there's our man. >> sorry to see you back here. >> i was sorry too. >> reporter: diagnosed as an adult with asperger's syndrome, most often described as a form of autism. i met him the first time while interviewing him for one of the stories told in my book "in a different key: the story of autism." it's the trains that bring him here. his whole life, it's been the trains. >> why does this keep happening? >> it keeps happening because i
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can't seem to have my urges and impulses under control. >> reporter: at first when darius was a teenager he was handed the controls and taught the skill busy trainmen whom he had befriended and took advantage of his interest so they could take breaks. their irresponsible behavior helped convince the young boy he was doing nothing wrong. >> i ran away to the subway system because i felt protected down there. my safe haven, my sanctuary. >> reporter: that was then. now as a 51-year-old, darius has been arrested 32 times and has taken control of new york city trains and some buses too more than 100 times. it is all for the same basic repeat offense. >> i'm really good with trains. but i can't seem to figure out people. >> reporter: that's darius speaking in a new film, a documentary on his life and his obsession called "off the rails." its director is adam irving. >> darius mccullum has spent more than half his life in prison for impersonating new
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york city transit workers. he has asperger's. i thought, there's a story. >> reporter: irving posits darius' compulsion to be part of the subway system literally results from his having asperger's syndrome, often thought of as a form of autism. >> people on the spectrum, they like routine, they like rituals, they like schedules. and trains run on a schedule. >> when he's in that world of the subway, there is a kind of sense where, everything is going to be okay there. like he's kind of ended up in wonder land. >> reporter: or put another way, when i asked darius about a scene in the film where he's donning the uniform of a transit police officer from his own collection -- >> everything about the uniform has to match from head to toe. i guess i felt like maybe batman. >> batman? >> batman. >> what does batman do? >> he doesn't have the powers like superman or ice man or other people, he's just a regular man. batman always seemed to do good
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for people, and i felt that i did good for people too. >> reporter: yet even though darius knew he was breaking the law and was risking jail time every time he offended, he just could not stop himself. in those moments when you give in to the obsession and take a train, by take it i mean steal it, are you aware that you're doing something wrong? that this is wrong what you're doing? >> at the time i'm doing it, no. because i feel like as if i -- i'm doing the right thing. >> it feels right to you? >> maybe that's part of the issue of what i'm going through. what feels right to me may feel wrong to somebody else. >> he can't help it. sort of like the addict who might have been clean for x amount of time, and one day that drug or that drink is in front of them, and guess what, they're like not caring about tomorrow. the need for that drink is
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powerful. >> for the record, has darius ever hurt anybody with his train obsession? >> no. darius has never hurt anyone through his impersonations of transit workers or taking transit vehicles. >> also, for the record, has he ever committed any other crimes outside of this? >> no, not to my knowledge or according to his rap sheet. >> reporter: but here's what else has never happened. in none of the correctional facilities he's been sent to was darius ever provided any sort of meaningful therapy to help control his behavior. >> you do want psychological treatme treatment? >> yes, i do. >> if you could get treatment what would you want it to do for you? where would you want it to get you? >> i would want it to get me to try to understand what's really going on with me. i would want it to get me to try to help me overcome what i'm actually going through. how to resist not wanting to take a bus, take a train, anything hike that. >> reporter: which may be just one reason that his periods on parole are always so
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short-lived. >> he was actually applying for jobs. he ran out of money and he didn't want to tell us. and he was going to be homeless on the night that this happened. that's where he really has difficulties when he gets scared. any person facing homelessness, with not a dime in their pocket, is going to be scared. this is not necessary. we can do something about this as a society, rather than lock people up and throw the key away. >> reporter: one might wonder why doesn't the transit system just give darius a job? he knows its inner workings so well and obviously he cares about its performance. but apparently no one wants to risk hiring an ex-con and have something go wrong. >> i think if there's a quiet place in the country where darius can ride trains or work in a transit museum, i think that would make him happy and make a lot of people happy. we just need someone to step up to the plate and say, i like this guy, i'm going to hire him. >> reporter: right now darius faces charges related to the unauthorized driving of a city bus.
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he could get more years behind bars. his diagnosis of asperger's has not bought him much sympathy from judges in the past. the pity is darius comes across as a good guy. maybe you'll see that if you happen to catch "off the rails." that's one reason darius himself wanted this documentary made. >> i want this documentary not only to help me, to help other people. maybe i can use it in the courts in reference to my case. maybe they could say, wait a minute, maybe we're taking the wrong approach, maybe we could do something different. >> reporter: maybe. but that depends on whether he gets the chance to try one more time. john donvan, abc news, new york. next, we're hearing about carrie fisher from some of those closest to her. tonight the carrie fisher only her sisters knew. dvt blood clot, i sure had a lot to think about. what about the people i care about? ...including this little girl. and what if this happened again? i was given warfarin in the hospital, but wondered, was this the best treatment for me?
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so i asked my doctor. and he recommended eliquis. eliquis treats dvt and pe blood clots and reduces the risk of them happening again. yes, eliquis treats dvt and pe blood clots. eliquis also had significantly less major bleeding than the standard treatment. both made me turn around my thinking. don't stop eliquis unless your doctor tells you to. eliquis can cause serious and in rare cases fatal bleeding. don't take eliquis if you have an artificial heart valve or abnormal bleeding. if you had a spinal injection while on eliquis call your doctor right away if you have tingling, numbness, or muscle weakness. while taking eliquis, you may bruise more easily ...and it may take longer than usual for bleeding to stop. seek immediate medical care for sudden signs of bleeding, like unusual bruising. eliquis may increase your bleeding risk if you take certain medicines. tell your doctor about all planned medical or dental procedures. eliquis treats dvt and pe blood clots. plus had less major bleeding. both made eliquis the right treatment for me. ask your doctor if switching to eliquis is right for you.
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lift up your head and keep moving or let the paranoia haunt you? everybody lack confidence, everybody lack confidence i keep my fee-fi-fo-fum i keep my heart undone the strong in me, i still smile.
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carrie fisher lived a very public and open life. but there's a side to the legendary "star wars" actress that only her family knew. and tonight we're getting a glimpse courtesy of her two sisters who sat down with abc's chris connelly for an exclusive interview. >> the world lost carrie and princess leia. we lost our hero. we lost our mirror. we hung on to every word that she said. >> we had the coolest big sister in the world. she was a bad-ass, bawdy, gun-toting princess. who has that? she also had a brilliant mind that was unlike anybody else. >> i was invited to go to a mental hospital.
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and, well, you don't want to be rude, right? so you go. >> last night we both watched "wishful drinking" on hbo. just the fact that that energy is gone from the world is hard to wrap your head around. >> reporter: jolie and tricia were raised by mom connie stevens. carrie raised by her mother debbie reynolds. the three shared a father, the late eddie fisher. ♪ may i thank you >> when you were in his presence, you felt like you were the most important, most beautiful, most special person in the world. and then he would go away. and not show up. so we all three had that experience. and i think we longed for him most of our lives. >> we grew together more like sisters than one would imagine. and we looked to her to see how to gauge, how to handle things
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that were thrown at us in life. like how was she going to do this? >> reporter: actresses with sharp minds like their big sister. tricia would guest on shows. >> i just wish that we could tell her that it doesn't matter. >> reporter: jolie would star on sitcoms like "till death." >> this is my day, my day! >> reporter: and "ellen," with admiration for carrie dating back to their youth. >> they will cater to our every whim! >> i remember seeing her in a 40-foot closeup and going, wow, that's my sister on screen. >> that's actually how i knew about her. "star wars." >> how did her initial success give her lessons that she helped to pass along to you as you began your entertainment career? >> i'm not sure that at the beginning she handled everything all that well. sometimes it was like, do as i say, not as i do. >> what did you know about her that maybe the rest of us did not? >> i think that she was more
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sensitive. >> she was secretly soft. >> secretly a young girl for all of her edge and her sass and her wisdom and all of that. i think maybe i saw that. like she wanted to be sisters and hang out and put makeup on in the bathroom mirror. >> she was extremely generous. like you would walk in and she would just hand you something in her room. >> we laid on her floor one night and she said, i have these diaries from "star wars," and read them to me. that was a decade ago. i know she said she just found them. she wasn't telling the truth. she read those to me. so i feel like i got to be in on the joke. a little bit. and that is important to me. >> reporter: a final conversation via text filled with talk of family and loved ones. >> we talked about age. because she was floored that she had just turned 60. we talked about our children. we talked about our frail mothers. and promised to see her for
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christmas. >> reporter: after learning of her heart attack on that flight to l.a. from london, it was a promise these two sisters would keep at carrie's bedside in the hospital. there with carrie's 24-year-old daughter, billy lourd. >> she's an amazing, soulful, amazing, smart girl. >> yeah. >> she was obviously, you know, rattled to her core. but she was handling it. and loving and generous and inclusive and everything that you would want your daughter to become. >> what did you want your sister to know as you sat in that room with her? >> i remember just holding her hand and telling her that we were there, that we would make sure that her daughter was whole, which she will be. and then i told her she would love how high she was right now. >> you knew your sister very
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well. >> yeah. >> tender moments as well with carrie's legendary mother. >> and i sat with debbie. and she said to me that -- she said she was praying for more time. she kept saying that she was -- she wanted more time. and then she told me that she prayed for more time for our mom and herself. and i knew. i knew that if carrie wasn't going to survive this, that debbie would not. you knew it. >> you could feel it. >> you could see it in her face. she would not last without her on the planet. she wouldn't. and she didn't. in true form, in true form. >> this is a "postcards from the edge" moment. she was not going to -- she wasn't going to let her go. >> reporter: carrie's brother todd was there for their
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mother's final moment. >> she didn't die from a broken heart. she just left to be with carrie. she expressed how much she loved my sister. she then said that she really wanted to be with carrie. and within 15 minutes from that conversation, she faded out. and within 30 minutes, she technically was gone. and i watched her leave and go to carrie. >> reporter: debbie reynolds would die a day after carrie, whose passing leaves jolie and tricia in deep grief and sweet remembrance. >> i felt cooler and more interesting by being near her. i felt special by having her as a sister. it made me special. >> when you want to conjure up the happiest memory you can of carrie, what does it look like? >> it's more like getting to have her one on one. and not share her. that's what i think of. and that's what i will miss is
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being able to just be with her in her home or wherever. and have her to myself. >> reporter: for "nightline," i'm chris connelly in los angeles. next, doesn't really matter how old she is, janet jackson just gave birth to her first child. the details and the unique baby name. so if ydead battery,t tire, need a tow or lock your keys in the car, geico's emergency roadside assistance is there 24/7. oh dear, i got a flat tire. hmmm. uh... yeah, can you find a take where it's a bit more dramatic on that last line, yeah? yeah i got it right here. someone help me!!! i have a flat tire!!! well it's good... good for me. what do you think?
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fathered by her husband of four years, billionaire and qatari businessman wissamalal mana. jackson had a stress-free, healthy delivery and is resting comfortably. ♪ i'm complete >> but buckle up, janet, there may be no sleep in 2017 for the new parents. ♪ even though i got no sleep >> our best to the family. and thank you for watching abc news. as always we're online 24/7 at and on our "nightline" mmmmm psst. yoplait custard's back. the family favorite... protein. protein proteiny protein. proteiny protein? protein proteiny protein.
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