This Probably Isn’t What They Meant When They Promised Us Flying Cars

Crime
A blog about murder, theft, and other wickedness.
Oct. 3 2013 1:22 PM

This Probably Isn’t What They Meant When They Promised Us Flying Cars

130329_CRIME_PCPtrain
Something you might do while on PCP.

Photo by Getty Images/iStockphoto

At the end of every month, I scour the LexisNexis and Factiva news databases for stories about the criminal exploits of people who are allegedly high on the dissociative drug phencyclidine, or PCP. Urban legend maintains that a dose of PCP—also known as angel dust—can give you superstrength, or make you hunger for human flesh. These are exaggerations. That said, PCP can lower a user’s inhibitions in newsworthy fashion. To wit:

Say You, Say Me, Say PCP. Northern Virginia cops arrested eight members of the notorious Nine Trey Gangsters last month, wrapping up a lengthy investigation into the gang’s alleged illegal activities. What set the Nine Trey Gangsters apart from all the other gangsters? Discipline, maybe: According to the indictment, a gang member named Lionel Ritchie was once brutally beaten after he violated a gang-wide ban on smoking PCP. Take heed, racketeers: A tight-run gang has no room for those who insist on dancing on the ceiling.

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Fly like an eagle, into the roof of a gas station. A Connecticut man named Tyrese Worthy was arrested last month in connection with a ridiculous car crash that suggests that, when you’re on PCP, you don’t need wings to fly. According to the New Haven Independent and other sources, Worthy was going 98 mph in a 25 mph zone when his car hit an embankment and took flight, rising between 17 and 40 feet into the air before crashing into a Mobil station’s metal canopy, causing a tremendous wreck and killing Worthy’s two passengers. Worthy himself survived, and afterward, in the ambulance, he allegedly made several odd statements, like “Did I get in a car accident?”, “Whose car did I mess?”, and “Am I going to jail?” The answers: yes, his girlfriend’s, and yes again. Do I even need to mention that police allegedly found PCP in his system?

King of the Dusters. In late September, according to the Jersey Journal, 45-year-old Paul Ward disrupted traffic on Kennedy Boulevard in Bayonne, N.J., by walking straight down the middle of it, shirt off, arms outstretched, in an oddly Christ-like pose. When confronted by authorities, Ward allegedly said that his name was Jason (false), and that he was doing nothing wrong (also false). He was arrested after a brief struggle, and now faces "two counts of aggravated assault, resisting arrest, obstructing governmental function, illegal use of PCP and interference with transportation." I could not confirm rumors that had local centurions gambling for Ward’s clothes.

A likely story. A Stamford, Conn., man allegedly offered a novel excuse when, in the course of a routine traffic stop, police noticed what looked to be marijuana and PCP in the car. According to the Darien, Conn., Patch, repeat drug offender Tyrell Hall explained that “his car had recently been stolen by a woman he knows with a serious drug problem. He had gotten the car back and had decided not to press charges against the female after her mother asked him for mercy. Hall denied he used or sold narcotics.” In an alternate universe, Hall was awarded the key to the city, and is now running for city council on the “Try a Little Tenderness” platform. In the real world, he was arrested and charged with multiple drug offenses.

PCP Story of the Month. In mid-September a police officer in Bayonne, N.J. (big month for Bayonne) was called to the scene of a traffic accident. After blocking off the roads and whatnot, he returned to his cruiser to find a local man named Tyrone Baskin sitting in the front seat of the police car, blasting loud music from the stereo, in an unbridled triumph of the id. Though the Jersey Journal’s story doesn’t explicitly say so, one can assume the officer reacted by asking Baskin what, exactly, he was doing. I can think of four possible responses:

1.     “Whoops, I thought this was my car.”

2.     “As a taxpayer, this technically is my car. So back off!”

3.     “Radio inspector here. Just checking to see if everything’s in order.”

4.     “I am on drugs.”

After a struggle, Baskin was arrested; unsurprisingly, he was allegedly holding “a bottle containing suspected PCP.” This whole story sounds like the setup to a great buddy comedy, where an uptight cop and a Good Time Charlie cruise the mean streets of Bayonne, blasting tunes and solving mysteries—and learning a little bit about friendship in the process. You know how to reach me, Hollywood. Let’s talk!

Justin Peters is a writer for Slate. He is working on a book about Aaron Swartz, copyright, and the rise of “free culture.” Email him at justintrevett@fastmail.fm.

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