ATLANTA -- After a week being under fire for how he handled the snow storm and the resulting traffic issues, Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed now has to defend a trip he made to The Weather Channel's studios Tuesday night.
While thousands were stuck in gridlocked traffic for hours, Reed used the emergency lanes on Interstate 75 so he could do an interview with The Weather Channel to discuss the severity of the storm.
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When asked about how he arrived at The Weather Channel by 11Alive's Rebecca Lindstrom at the Atlanta Press Club lunchon on Friday, Reed answered:
"The reason I did is because one of the most important things we can do to keep people safe is to tell people to stay off the roads and in times of emergency, people turn to The Weather Channel so it was important for me to 'say stay off of the road' not hearing the report of me saying that but to have the leader of the city saying 'the most important thing that you can do is stay off the road'. If you watch that segment that's exactly what I said so it gave me an amplified ability to help people stay safe and I think that's one of the reasons we had zero fatalities in the city of Atlanta and that's exactly what having a police officer drive me is for emergencies like that.
The cop wouldn't have been on the street because the police officer that drove me is assigned to me. I'm not allowed to drive so the officer that drove me wasn't pulled from anywhere. It's the officer who drove for me drove me to The Weather Channel, a trusted source of information that people turn to during weather crises that's absolutely verifiable their ratings go up in bad weather and I thought that people in the city and the region needed to hear from me that we needed them to stay off the road and because of that and because of other things that were done we had zero fatalities in the city of Atlanta..."
The mayor and police officers traveled to the weather station's Atlanta studios, according to the mayor's communication director, Carlos Campos. The interview took place during the thick of the storm, while emergency responders were trying to help stranded drivers.
Campos told The Associated Press he did not believe there was ever a time when they interfered with the emergency response units.
(Associated Press contributed to this article.)
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