News & Politics

Metro Accuses DC Man of Evading Fare, Throwing Bikeshare on Tracks, and Starting Fire

Not all dockless bikeshares left inside Metro stations are chucked on the tracks, like this one spotted at Gallery Place. Photograph by Flickr user Elvert Barnes.

Metro delays happen for all sorts of reasons that we usually never hear about. But the transit agency chalks up Sunday evening’s four-hour disruption of the Orange Line to a multimodal crime spree.

The Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority says that about 7 PM Sunday, Demarcus Joseph Graves entered the Minnesota Avenue station in southeast DC without swiping a fare card. From there, Metro says, Graves headed up to the platform where a bicycle belonging to the bike-sharing service LimeBike had been parked, and allegedly threw the bike onto the tracks, where it was struck by an incoming Orange Line train about 90 seconds later. Graves then allegedly set fire to a paper food box he picked up on the platform, according to Metro Transit Police.

LimeBike is one of five bike-sharing systems to launch in DC since September, and is distinguished by its bikes’ bright-green bodies. Unlike the seven-year-old Capital Bikeshare, which rents out thousands of bikes stationed at docks scattered throughout the Washington metropolitan area, the newer arrivals allow riders to leave their rides in just about any legal spot. Metro stations are not included in that classification, although dockless bikes do wind up there occasionally.

Metro officials and police were quick to identify Graves, and he was arrested Sunday evening on charges of felony malicious destruction of property, malicious burning, impeding Metro operations, and fare evasion, along with having open warrant from DC Superior Court.

No one was hurt when the train struck the bike, though Metro says the collision caused “significant damage” to the train’s undercarriage.

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Abbey joined Washingtonian in September 2017. A Miami University (Ohio, not Florida) alum, she called the Midwest home before moving to Vermont to report for the Burlington Free Press and to be closer to her one true love: Ben & Jerry’s ice cream. Her work has also appeared in Cincinnati Magazine and USA Today. Abbey lives in Falls Church.