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Street racers block major Atlanta bridge

We're hearing from both sides of the debate: some concerned Atlantans who worry its getting out of hand again, and others who are advocating for safer ways to do it.

ATLANTA — The ongoing battle with street racing hit the Peachtree Street North Bridge early Sunday morning. Dozens gathered there, spinning their cars in circles, blocking all lanes for more than an hour.

Now, we're hearing from both sides of the debate: some concerned Atlantans who worry it is getting out of hand again, and others who are advocating for safer ways to do it.

Latoya Hodge lives in the apartment complex right next to the bridge.

"I heard a lot of commotion," she recalled. "A lot of people gathering and walking this way and I'm like 'what's going on?' You could hear muzzling cars and the screeching of wheels. Very loud."

Just before 1 a.m. Sunday morning, cars lined up along the bridge, blocking every lane. A few minutes later, several cars began doing donuts, spinning, and drifting in the middle of the bridge.

"Another concern was how close to the crowd [the cars] come," she said. "It just looks like an accident waiting to happen. There should be some kind of governance I think."

Hodge was watching a movie around that time when she started hearing the noises.

"I just feel like it should be in a safer place," she added. "Entertainment is nice but at the right time and at the right place."

The "right place" is what Sir Brandon Lamar said he's been looking for in Atlanta.

"I used to be out here with the street races, I don't mind saying it because I'm a car fanatic. Street racing may be illegal but this is why I'm advocating for us to get a race park," he tells 11Alive. "Only thing you can resort to now is coming down to the middle of the highway or come to a bridge and go to a city area."

He said that until officials steer in that direction and get a park for street racers, important roads will continue to shut down.

"They shut down 285, they shut down the place in Decatur, I've been all over the place with these people," he said and suggested that this could be a new form of entertainment for Atlanta. "The city can even get behind it, they can even charge. You can ensure people have valid driver's licenses and valid insurance." 

We reached out to the Atlanta Police Department but it could not provide an interview Sunday. 

It did, however, put out a Tweet Sunday afternoon, sending a warning to street racers, saying APD does not have a problem making arrests or impounding cars.

Residents say it took police more than an hour to respond. 

"People feel comfortable with blocking off our intersection for a whole hour and people cannot respond to an emergency... so what's happening here? There's obviously a disconnect between the police department, city officials and literally regular civilians," said Sir Brandon Lamar. "While it's illegal, why did it take an hour for the police to respond?"

While he says no one was hurt, the bridge sits less than a mile away from Piedmont Atlanta Hospital, fueling another concern for Hodge.

"If that's the case and it's an emergency, they couldn't have gotten through," she said, referring to ambulances. "There's no way."


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