Three arrested in Atlanta I-85 bridge fire

Local news outlets report the Georgia Department of Transportation officials said at least four vehicles were involved in the wreck as one auto caught fire heading westbound on Interstate 20 that left three lanes blocked Monday around 5 a.m.

Eleby's preliminary hearing is set for April 14.

VIDEO: #atlantafire suspect compelled by judge to enter court. He has now been charged with arson.

Sophia Bruner and Barry Thomas, both charged with criminal trespass, were arrested along with Eleby on Friday.

This booking photo provided by the Fulton County Jail shows Basil Newman Eleby. They are now in custody, and officials have not indicated when they would have a first appearance.

His attorney shielded his face with a green manila folder, an attempt to hide him from the media.

Court documents show a witness told police Eleby was smoking crack cocaine under the bridge before he set the fire.

Judge James Altmon said he had considered setting a higher bond to match the damage inflicted, "but in this case, that would amount to hundreds of millions of dollars".

"My second inclination, thinking about it, was that some compensation to the victims would be appropriate", Altman said. He also said he woke up Brauer, who had gone to sleep, and they left the area, going in the opposite direction as Eleby, according to the arrest affidavit.

According to the Fulton County Sheriff's Office website, Eleby has been arrested 20 times since 1995, including this incident. Minutes later, the bridge collapsed.

Others in the community are concerned that the problem may be more than financial. Authorities have said they interrogated the subjects and that all three might be homeless. Compounding long-term gridlock, the Atlanta Braves will play this season at their new stadium along the I-285 bypass.

SCAD Atlanta students have been affected by the collapse of an overpass on Interstate 85 March 30, which occurred just over two miles north of SCAD Atlanta's main building.

Amid the rubble of the fallen pavement, firefighters continued their work.

About 10 a.m. Saturday, however, transportation officials began allowing northbound traffic on the Connector to proceed north in two lanes of I-85 to the next exit: the Buford-Spring Connector, Exit 86 (Ga. 13). Commuters were redirected to surface streets like Piedmont Road and Cheshire Bridge, and MARTA announced that it would offer expanded service in light of the situation. Local officials confirmed that $10 million in federal funds have been released to help pay for the fix and reconstruction of I-85 damaged by the collapse.

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The shutdown likely sets the city up for traffic headaches for months after creating navigation hell Thursday with jams that extended five miles or more and stranded motorists for hours.

  • Leroy Wright