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David Allen Coe famously said that the perfect country & western song would need to address "mama," "trains," "trucks," "prison," and "gettin' drunk." This story may end up involving all five.
On February 22, Brandon Dowdy allegedly saw locomotive No. 2617 sitting all by its lonesome on the tracks. Cops are charging him with taking it on a seven-mile joyride down the tracks. But the story behind his trainjacking is just now emerging.
Dowdy's alleged accomplice, Alex Johnson-Self, said the plan was to break into the 120-ton vehicle, get it moving down the track, and then drive it to a bar. Johnson-Self would drive his truck to the bar and pick Dowdy up there.
The full story in the Herald is a must-read, in part because it feautures "a classic-rock band called Big Dick and the Extenders," and in part because it looks this was an opportunity Dowdy had waited his whole life for:
Dowdy's mother, flight attendant Elizabeth Combs, says her son has always had a thing for railroads.
The family celebrated his eighth birthday party at the Gold Coast Railroad Museum in South Miami-Dade County. Family photos show Dowdy smiling broadly, wearing a blue and white conductor's hat. His vanilla-frosted birthday cake was decorated with multicolored train figurines.
By age 10, he was volunteering in the model-train room at the museum. The director there confirmed that Dowdy was a volunteer, but did not want to say more.
Dowdy is now charged grand theft, burglary and illegally interfering with a railroad track. CSX railroad told the Herald it takes locomotive theft particularly seriously in the aftermath of 9/11.