Another Murder, Another Traffic Jam

Early Thursday morning, yet another murder wrecked the commute into Atlanta, this time from the east rather than the northwest:

More than six hours after DeKalb County police found someone dead from an apparent gunshot wound on I-20, officials have reopened portions of the interstate that were shut down while they conducted their investigation.

About 4 a.m., officers found a male passenger dead in a vehicle on I-20 at I-285, DeKalb police Maj. Stephen Fore said.

“The driver was cooperative with police and it was determined the shooting incident occurred in Forest Park,” Fore said.

More questions than answers here. I don’t quite understand the link between “finding a passenger dead in a vehicle” and “the driver was cooperative with police”. What I’m guessing is that the driver was pulled over, but the article could have clarified that. If the guy was on I-20 in DeKalb County, he was about ten miles away from Forest Park, so I’m not sure what that’s all about, either.

If we made a similar story into a murder mystery, we could go two ways. One would be to link it with the earlier story about the woman who murdered a (homeless) pedestrian on her double-carjacking spree into town: why are people trying to tie up Atlanta’s already awful commute with these senseless deaths? The trouble is that the two crimes have nothing else in common. Though it would be fun to imagine someone who had some interest in stopping traffic and then orchestrating the two crimes, it stretches the willing suspension of disbelief too much. Who would benefit from such a thing and how? Advocates of public transit? (You know, that’s not such a bad idea.)

Better still, ignore the first story and write this from the perspective of the driver. What was he up to that got his passenger shot in Forest Park, and how did it result in his driving ninety degrees around the Perimeter? Where was he going? Why didn’t he go to the nearest hospital? Now construct a narrative that makes this the most plausible thing to do: what’s up with him or the passenger that he’s willing to drive ten miles with a corpse?

What if he didn’t realize the guy was dead, or even shot? As in, his friend is sleeping off a few drinks in the passenger seat, and is struck through an open window by a stray bullet in such a way that our driver just doesn’t notice that the guy goes from asleep to dead? And then he gets pulled over for a broken taillight, and the cop sees blood on the passenger side door. Now imagine him driving along the highway, thinking himself a good person for driving without the radio on so his buddy can snooze, and then the blue lights go on. And for Atlanta, the real tragedy is that the commute gets tied up.

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