MANHATTAN — A knife-wielding homeless man who terrorized an MTA bus driver and passengers on Fifth Avenue was arrested Wednesday by police, DNAinfo New York has learned.
Daryle McClam, 52, was arrested near East 68th Street near where he allegedly brandished a long silver knife and tried to rob passengers and the female driver, Diana Belgrave, 32, before she managed to coax him off the bus, according to officials.
“I just thought I was going to get hurt really, really bad,” Belgrave, the mother of an 8-year-old daughter, told “On the Inside," recalling how McClam waved the blade over her head and demanded money as she tried to keep her cool as the bus continued down Fifth Avenue.
“I always hoped that if I am going to die it would be peaceful surrounded by my loved ones,” she said.
Belgrave said she had just started her day after dropping her daughter off at school, expecting a routine day of “taking people safely from one place to another."
But all that changed shortly after she allowed McClam onto the bus at 110th Street and Fifth Avenue at roughly 10 a.m., even though he said he did not have money to pay the fare.
McClam said he wanted to go to Rockefeller Center, and after getting on board, he marched to the rear of the bus and sat down, Belgrave said.
But around 86th Street, Belgrave looked up into her rear-view mirror and noticed McClam standing in the aisle, confronting a frightened female passenger, who was saying, “No, sir, I don’t have anything for you.”
“I saw him in the mirror and I said, ‘You have to sit down, sir, right now.’” But McClam began to approach her, saying, “You are next!”
With a dollar bill in his left hand, and his right hand hidden in a pocket, McClam stepped up to her seat, pulled out a “shiny long silver knife” and repeatedly demanded, "Gimme some money," she said.
With more than a dozen stunned passengers watching in silence, Belgrave initially told McClam she had no money, and then repeatedly ordered him to get off the bus as he held his knife above the plastic safety shield that separates her from passengers.
Standing her ground, she finally barked at McClam that she had no money and ordered him to leave as she opened the door.
He left empty-handed.
“I did not expect anyone to approach a man with a knife in New York,” she said of the passengers.
As she waited for her bosses and police, Belgrave continued to help her passengers move to other buses heading south on Fifth Avenue.
TWU Local 100 President John Samuelsen said his “bus operators on the front-line too often are subject to assaults and abuse, so were glad this guy is off the streets and off our buses.”
Belgrave, who has worked for the MTA for nearly three years after spending five years with Delta Airlines, said nothing as dangerous as this encounter had ever happened to her.
“This is the kind of thing you read about happening to someone else,” she said. “But I am glad I looked into that rear-view mirror.”