Saturday, April 17, 2010

Dogwood Festival, Freaknik, Other Events Could Jam Traffic

The Atlanta Police Department said they will close several streets Saturday in downtown Atlanta due to the large amount of traffic expected. The following street will be closed from 7 p.m. until 4 a.m.

Peachtree Street between Marietta Street and M. L. King Jr. Drive.

Forsyth Street between Marietta Street and M. L. King Jr. Drive.

Pryor Street between Decatur Street and M. L. King Jr. Drive.

Wall Street between Central Avenue and Peachtree Street.

The Atlanta Police also report that there have been no reports of any significant occurrences related to the events going on this weekend in Atlanta.

Festivals, sporting events and the return of Freaknik have sparked fears of heavy traffic to several neighborhoods in Atlanta this weekend.

Tens of thousands of people are expected in town for the events and the mayor said the city is prepared for the unexpected.

The mayor, along with Interim Police Chief George Turner, Interim Fire Chief Joel Baker and MARTA CEO Beverly Scott, appeared together to announce traffic plans during a news conference earlier in the week.

Some of the events that could clog streets include the Dogwood Festival in Piedmont Park, Sweetwater 420 Festival in Candler Park, a robotics conference at the Georgia World Congress Center and home games for the Hawks and Braves.

Reed expects the turnout for any Freaknik events to be miniscule, and pale in comparison to the raucous street parties and gridlock the event caused in the mid-90s. The city has not issued permits to Freaknik organizers.

The Atlanta Police Department has canceled days off for officers this weekend, and officers will work 12-hour shifts to handle public safety issues. The department will use motorcycle, air and mounted patrol units to keep traffic moving.

Piedmont Park Lenox Square Greenbriar Mall Peachtree Road at Piedmont Road Atlanta University Center Underground Atlanta Washington, Maddox, Perkerson, & Candler Park

"In very simple terms, our preparation is to prevent Freaknik or Freaknik-related activities to interfere with other very important events in the city of Atlanta that have been well-planned and thought out. We owe that to the individuals who have planned their events appropriately and will not have them interfered with by unsanctioned events," said Reed.

Visitors to the city are encouraged to use MARTA. The mayor also announced the Georgia DOT is canceling plans to repave parts of the downtown connector this weekend.

2 Children, 1 Adult, Family Pet Killed In Fiery Crash

An adult, two children and their family pet have died in a fiery accident on Interstate 75 in Macon. The Bibb County Sheriff's Department said a pickup truck from Florida was pulling a U-Haul trailer when it struck a construction barrier and caught fire Saturday morning.

Bibb County Coroner Leon Jones said the victims were burned beyond recognition. The accident happened near Sardis Church Road.

Car Slams Into Horse And Carriage; 4 Injured

Four people were seriously injured Friday night when authorities said a speeding vehicle slammed into a horse and carriage on Peachtree Street.

According to officials, two vehicles were speeding, north, on Peachtree Street and Harris Street. One of the vehicles did not stop and ran into a horse and carriage, occupied by four to five people.

Curtis Davenport, spokesman for Atlanta police, said the carriage basically disintegrated.

The carriage occupants were transported to a Grady Memorial Hospital. A spokeswoman at Grady Memorial Hospital said one is in critical condition and three are in fair condition.

The horse was captured as it ran from the scene.

One of the drivers, Odom Gerald, 29, was arrested by Atlanta police.

Atlanta police are investigating the wreck, which happened near Andrew Young International Boulevard.

The slow-moving carriages are typical along the downtown corridor.

Gwinnett Officer Shoots, Kills Suspect Wielding Knife

A Gwinnett County police officer was involved in a fatal shooting on Saturday morning, according to Gwinnett County Cpl. David Schiralli. The shooting took place on Sugarloaf Parkway at 6:30 a.m.

According to Schiralli, the officer responded to a man with a knife attacking cars at an apartment complex parking lot. The officer opened fire on the suspect when he lunged at the officer, Schiralli said.

The suspect, a resident of the apartment complex, was taken to an area hospital, where he later died. The officer, a veteran, was on paid leave while the investigation continues.

Police: Deputy Caught With Cocaine, Marijuana

The Atlanta Police Department arrested a Fulton County sheriff's deputy on drug charges, Fulton County Sheriff Official Tracy Flanagan said.

Officials said Deputy Jacqueline Dunn was charged Friday night with possession of marijuana and possession of cocaine. Dunn faces indefinite suspension and an internal affairs investigation is in progress, according to officials.

Authorities Make $2 Million Marijuana Bust

Authorities have arrested two people after a bust of an indoor marijuana growing operation that yielded more than 850 plants.

Authorities charged 44-year-old Nathaniel Bryant Jr., with trafficking marijuana over 100 pounds, possession of marijuana with intent to distribute, and possession of tools during the commission of a crime. They charged 45-year-old Chandra Lee Gaskin with possession of marijuana.

Chatham-Savannah Counter Narcotics Team agents seized the plants after searching buildings in the 400 block of South Baldwin Circle and the 200 block of Dyches Drive. Both were being used as grow houses.

The plants had a total weight of approximately 1,900 pounds and an estimated street value of $2 million. Agents also seized four guns, including a sawed-off shotgun, and a military style ballistics vest.

WSB, Atlanta; WAGA-TV, Atlanta; WGXA, Macon; Georgia Radio Network.

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