This week’s best profile takes an event that most already know about and that many know the details of, yet still manages a terribly suspenseful opener:
He heard the familiar whine of a Metro train approaching the platform, and Tom Baker decided to run for it. The next train was scheduled to arrive at Takoma Station in two minutes, another in six minutes and yet another in 10. But it was the first Monday of summer, and Baker had left work early with a weightlifting routine to complete and an overgrown garden to tend. A doctor at Walter Reed with an emergency pager affixed to his waist, Baker had learned to schedule and protect every minute of his free time. This was his train.
Baker, 47, bounded up the escalator, two steps at once, until he reached the empty platform. The train idled on his left, its doors still open. The operator, a 42-year-old named Jeanice McMillan, stuck her head out the window and watched Baker run toward her. She was an hour into her final shift of the week, seven loops on the Red Line away from going home to a son who just had returned from college. But she smiled and held open the door, and that was how the final passenger made it onto Car 1079, the first car of Metro Train 112, headed south toward downtown Washington.
Read this profile of the DC Metro crash’s survivors – and victims – by Eli Saslow (with what must have been significant contributions from the “Also reporting” folks).