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News » Alleged crack addict being used as a scapegoat for I-85 collapse in Atlanta

Alleged crack addict being used as a scapegoat for I-85 collapse in Atlanta


via Fulton County Jail

Days after a massive fire on I-85 ended with the collapse of the highway in Atlanta, Atlanta Police arrested three people in connection with the fire. According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Basil Elebry, Sophia Bruner and Barry Thomas were arrested.

Elebry, 39, allegedly set the blaze and was charged with first-degree criminal damage to property and criminal trespass. The warrant states that Elebry discussed smoking crack with the other suspects before setting a fire. Apparently, the DOT claimed that the fire grew out of control after it reached a secured area containing PVC piping.

Elebry bail was set at $200,000.

But some believe Elebry, Bruner, and Thomas are being viewed as the scapegoats for this huge failure by the DOT and Georgia officials. Although an investigation is still pending, the catastrophe sheds light on deeper issues when it comes to transportation in Georgia.

Poor city and state planning have caused Atlanta to be one of the worst cities in the nation when it comes to infrastructure issues. According to the Global Traffic Scorecard, Atlanta ranked eighth in the world for traffic congestion. And although the state recently passed a $750 million budget to improve roads and bridges, construction has yet to accommodate the millions of drivers who drive Georgia roads each day. Another issue is a lack of expansion for public transit. For decades, racial propaganda has kept MARTA out of the surrounding counties. As a result, only 3 percent of residents in the metro area use MARTA.

So while Elebry is being viewed as a scapegoat for the collapse of an interstate, the apathy by Georgia officials over the years should be ridiculed as well.



  1. SrAgri on April 2, 2017 at 12:42 pm

    The man should be charged with “first-degree criminal damage to property and criminal trespass”, since he intentionally lit the fire and was trespassing.

    That said, they can’t pin the whole bridge collapse thing on him unless they can prove that he knew the pipe would burn and realized what would happen, which I’m guessing is not the case.

    I was in Atlanta a few months ago and saw all kinds of wrecks. Local drivers seem to have no knowledge of the rules of the road and drive really badly there. The bad driving contributes to a lot of the wrecks that slow traffic down. I don’t think the problem is with the infrastructure as much as it is with the bad driving.

    • Joe Tracey on April 3, 2017 at 2:48 am

      $10 fine now move on.

    • Jmoney on April 3, 2017 at 8:46 am

      U sound stupid.

      • SrAgri on April 3, 2017 at 10:02 am

        U type stupid. What’s your point?

    • Valarie Malone on April 3, 2017 at 3:51 pm

      Actually the city gets a lot of tourist/visitors that aren’t familiar with the Metro area which makes driving conditions really bad. Imagine being in a large city and clueless where you’re going. Therefore it’s not the “insiders” the ones who lives in Atlanta it’s the “outsiders”

      • SrAgri on April 3, 2017 at 4:22 pm

        Really? Because the wrecks I saw were related to aggressive weaving and lane changing (without turn signals) and really close tailgating. The really reckless drivers I observed all had Georgia plates.

        Out-of-state drivers typically error on the side of being over-cautious in unfamiliar traffic patterns (with the exception of Texans).

        Valerie, I just noticed that this is your first post on Disqus. Did you join just to defend Atlanta drivers?

        • RealTing on April 3, 2017 at 5:09 pm

          Even with Georgia plates, Atlanta is primarily a transient city with most drivers being transplants. Not many folks who live here are FROM here. I was here more than a year before ever meeting someone who called Atlanta home. So, I guess there must be some giant conspiracy on the part of other American cities to send all their bad drivers to Atlanta. *meh*

  2. Sl on April 2, 2017 at 1:40 pm

    Why was the department of homeland security all over ATL near where the fire burned. I seriously don’t think they had the capacity to make a fire that big. It resembled a chemical fire.

    • SrAgri on April 3, 2017 at 9:12 am

      Probably because a small fire should not have lit all of that PVC on fire. There had to be another factor. I suspect it could have been spilled fuel or petroleum products.

    • Jason on April 3, 2017 at 9:52 am

      You are correct. This is bull. The city is covering for some rich contractor. Get at me when this is finally revealed.

      • SrAgri on April 3, 2017 at 2:29 pm

        The city is probably not sure what happened. This is probably a states issue and not a city issue. It is an interstate highway and the stored materials were left over from a GDOT project. Unless Georgia works differently than other states, the city has very little say over what happens on interstate right-of-way.

        Storing pipe underneath a bridge is actually a pretty good idea – it would reduce the pipe’s exposure to UV light that would break it down.

        I’m just baffled as to how the fire went from a trash fire (or whatever the homeless guys were burning) to burning the PVC. PVC, like any plastic, will burn, but it is not easily flammable.

      • melgoza on April 3, 2017 at 6:37 pm

        Got proof or is this another example of you not suing what little is in your head?

        • Jason on April 3, 2017 at 6:48 pm

          Bye punk ass. It is easy enough to deal with idiots like you.

          • melgoza on April 11, 2017 at 3:54 pm

            Run along coward!

  3. Mason Youngblood on April 2, 2017 at 3:32 pm

    The city stored materials under a bridge for years so they would not have to pay storage fees..a lit cigarette thrown out of a car window and catching fire on dry grass below the materials under the bridge could have done the same damage..right or wrong? But to stop an investigation that would lead to the prosecution of those city officials who allowed the materials to lay under the bridge for years they just blamed someone that they knew would not have an alibi..a crackhead who can’t remember what was his last meal let alone what locations he visited during the day of the bridge fire.

    • Jason on April 3, 2017 at 9:53 am

      Exactly. All crack addicts want is their next rock. They are not in the business of arson. They might steal some dvds, mobile phones, etc. They want to do quick flips for crack cash.

    • Atlgal on April 3, 2017 at 2:19 pm

      The Georgia Department of Transportation (not the city) stored that material under their own bridge. It was stored legally, stupidly but legally. The issue is 1) they did NOT secure the space and 2) they knew it was highly flammable materials. Now they are going to throw three people under the bus and act like that ends the conversation.

      • SrAgri on April 3, 2017 at 3:09 pm

        Actually, they did secure the space (it was fenced and locked) and the PVC pipe itself is not highly flammable. Like any plastic, PVC will burn, but it is not easily ignited. I suspect there were other materials or chemicals involved, probably petroleum products.

      • Mason Youngblood on April 4, 2017 at 12:40 pm

        I don’t know why people like to get so damn technical..these materials were stored under a bridge INSIDE the city of Atlanta so it’s just like the city was storing the materials because they had to know it was I said..the city stored the materials.. for free.

        • SrAgri on April 4, 2017 at 2:34 pm

          You are an idiot and understand nothing of this country’s transportation systems or property laws so please recuse yourself while the adults discuss this.

          If the materials were owned by the state and stored in the state right-of-way, it wasn’t the city’s issue. The city does not have the legal right to do anything in the state right-of-way without the state’s permission. The city was not storing the materials or profiting off of their storage in any way.

          • Mason Youngblood on April 4, 2017 at 7:57 pm

            Speaking of adults..the next time you hear grown folks talking,and not to you, shut tf up

          • SrAgri on April 5, 2017 at 9:52 am

            Wow, you told me. You don’t understand anything about city or state government and believe non-combustible construction material are a fire hazard, but you’re the authority on this subject because you say so?

          • Mason Youngblood on April 5, 2017 at 11:59 am

            But YOU’RE the expert on city and state government and non-combustables? Lol. Gtfoh.

          • SrAgri on April 5, 2017 at 12:48 pm

            Yes, actually I am. I met with a state transportation department yesterday and have a meeting with a city this afternoon. I work with both on a regular basis and understand property surveys, easements, and rights-of-way very well.

            I’m going to guess from your posts that you have no knowledge of legal or technical matter, aside from possibly a greater understanding of smoking crack, so why don’t you just bow out of this discussion of topics you do not understand.

          • Mason Youngblood on April 6, 2017 at 7:16 am

            You need to get to work if you’re that busy..which I know YOU’RE NOT because you spend most of your time trying to argue my comments down. Sell that BS to someone else.

          • SrAgri on April 6, 2017 at 9:35 am

            Wait, are you “deflecting”?

          • Mason Youngblood on April 6, 2017 at 12:23 pm

            I repeat..sell that BS to someone else..

          • SrAgri on April 6, 2017 at 1:02 pm

            If you are such an expert, why don’t you explain how rights-of-way and the federal highway system work?

            Maybe that will shed some light on the situation.

          • Mason Youngblood on April 6, 2017 at 9:27 pm

            You don’t listen and that’s your problem.

          • SrAgri on April 7, 2017 at 9:57 am

            No, you posted gibberish. That is the problem.

            Your posts show that you understand very little of how work is done in the world.

            City employees have more road and street work than they can handle. Fire fighters and police have more important things to do than to go around checking rolls of building materials beneath bridges. Cities have neither the time nor the resources to go around checking on what state agencies are doing within the city.

  4. James on April 2, 2017 at 4:59 pm

    Basil Elleby is the most hated man in Atlanta and very rightfully so. He is responsible for this.

    • Melvin Tate on April 2, 2017 at 5:28 pm

      @james There’s no way Basil could have burned an entire bridge by smoking crack. Thats a cop out by GA government

      • Jason on April 3, 2017 at 9:54 am

        Thank you. We need more people with sense. Obviously, few people out here have the street experience to realize a complete bullshit con when they see/hear it.

      • Franciscus Cintron Leverette on April 5, 2017 at 12:47 am

        I agree with you the only way that could have happened is if he was cooking meth under the bridge. And it blow up. A meth lab would have been a little more believable. But not a single crack rock and a small lighter.

      • SrAgri on April 5, 2017 at 11:14 am

        No one is saying that he started the fire by smoking crack. Two witnesses have stated that he piled flammable materials against a pile of pipes and lit the pile on fire. He seemed to think it was funny.

    • Sean Keenan on April 2, 2017 at 7:42 pm

      It’s like leaving a loaded gun in a child’s room and getting mad at him for firing. The DOT and The City left the loaded gun. They need to man up!

      • James on April 6, 2017 at 6:45 pm

        No it’s like leaving a loaded gun in an adult’s room and expecting him to act like an adult.

    • Jason on April 3, 2017 at 9:54 am

      You sound crazy.

    • melgoza on April 3, 2017 at 6:34 pm

      Melvin and Jason ALWAYS support criminals.

  5. waltinseattle on April 2, 2017 at 11:06 pm

    .from trusted friends comes this message: “I know Basil Eleby very well for 15 years or so. He lived in my home for a short time. He’s been homeless and living on the streets mainly in that area since his late teens maybe 20. Basil has the mind of a 10-14 year old. Very low level of functioning. He is not a normal adult.
    When he lived with us he watched cartoons only and in conversation he would often joke around and refer to Bugs bunny and other cartoon characters while speaking. The most important part of his defense needs to involve testing so that the court has documentation to show his iq and level of functioning. Give any 12-14 year old a lighter and leave them out in the yard awhile and see what happens. I have tried to relay this to the press or anyone who will listen so far and Im trying to get others involved to help but the press doesn’t seem to want to include that Basil has the mind of a child. It would be unfortunate if he had to suffer many years of abuse in a harmful environment because he has had nothing but abuse in a harmful environment most of his life….”

    • Gina Larkie on April 3, 2017 at 12:54 am

      The Media does not want to hear or report his mind is like a child. Do people now understand why the term fake news is being brought up by Trump. #JustSaying.

    • Jmoney on April 3, 2017 at 8:51 am

      All he kept saying was “Bugs Bunny made me do it”. For some odd reason, i kinda believe him.

      • waltinseattle on April 3, 2017 at 12:28 pm

        you jokin’ or were you in the court and hear that?

    • SrAgri on April 5, 2017 at 11:15 am

      Even a 12 to 14-year-old knows better than to go around lighting stuff on fire. If he intentionally lit the fire, he needs to be locked up.

  6. Jason on April 3, 2017 at 9:50 am

    The word scapegoat should be in caps. This is total crap, and the city of Atlanta knows it. Now I see why the police and such are able to lie about whatever and have you dummies believe it. Unfortunately, I know a bit about crackheads, and I can assure you this is total bullshit. The city of Atlanta should be ashamed and pay for this outright bull.

    • waltinseattle on April 3, 2017 at 12:31 pm

      State of Ga. dept Transport. Their pipe. no wait, I mean construction pipe. not the crack pipe. !

  7. imbustinloose on April 3, 2017 at 10:03 am

    This is another act of terrorism by children of Obama. They’ll blame addiction, a brutal childhood, getting back at a racist society, or poor schooling for this crime. These three dim bulbs should be charged with terrorism and sentenced to life in another country!!! Get them out of here!!!

    • BK37 on April 3, 2017 at 10:28 am

      Wtf does Obama have to do with this?????

  8. BK37 on April 3, 2017 at 10:29 am

    Between this and the new Braves stadium, traffic is gonna be sick. This is what happens with short sighted white folks continue to vote against public transportation.

  9. Baron_of_Greymatter on April 3, 2017 at 12:35 pm

    If you don’t know who Marinus van der Lubbe was, now would be a good time to google him.

    • Atlgal on April 3, 2017 at 2:23 pm

      You think a MARTA employee started the fire to grow ridership? that’s brilliant!!

      • Baron_of_Greymatter on April 4, 2017 at 3:15 pm

        Whoosh! Right over your head.

  10. melgoza on April 3, 2017 at 6:36 pm

    Is he the son of Marion Berry?

    He’ll be mayor of Atlanta soon.

  11. Sandra Hawkins-Hudson on April 3, 2017 at 11:14 pm

    Nope not believing that crap not at all come again with the real story ATL officials

  12. Joseph Sorenson on April 4, 2017 at 1:06 pm

    I feel they are being scapegoated, as well. If you know anything about PVC piping, it takes a hell of a lot to make it burn; a simple lighter would not do it. Also, there was more under that bridge than just PVC piping. There were barrels of containers that appeared there sometime in 2012, however DOT officials claim they had been there are approximately 10-11 years. Someone is covering their asses at the expense of three people who do not have the financial means to adequately defend themselves.

    • SrAgri on April 5, 2017 at 11:20 am

      Apparently, Basil piled furniture and other flammable materials against the pipe and lit the pile on fire. Furniture can actually burn very hot for a duration of time (which is a scary thought) and it would be sufficient to get the PVC hot enough to ignite.

      According to the two witnesses, Basil thought it was funny.

      • SrAgri on April 6, 2017 at 5:31 pm

        As an update on my earlier post, the pipe material was High-Density Polyethylene (HDPE), not PVC. Early reports said PVC, but pictures from Google Street View show coils of pipe material. PVC comes in straight “sticks” of pipe, but HDPE is much more flexible and comes in coiled rolls.

        HDPE has an auto-ignition temperature of around 660°F and will burn. Despite this, HDPE is not considered either hazardous or flammable by OSHA and has no restrictions on handling or storage.

        Also from Google Street View, the bridge girders appear to be steel beams.

        The steel beams where probably attached with a “pin & rocker” assembly. Google “bridge pin and rocker” for pictures. This allows for the beam to move back and forth on one end, because steel has a high rate of thermal expansion due to weather. This is why you have the steel plates with interlocking teeth or sliding plates on the concrete deck of the bridge.

        The concrete deck would not have to fail and the steel beams would not have to melt for the bridge to fail. The steel beams would just have to heat up enough to deflect in the middle and slip off of the rocker end of the beam.

    • SrAgri on April 6, 2017 at 5:32 pm

      The pipe was actually HDPE, which ignites and burns much easier than PVC. See more information two posts down.

  13. DrexelLake on April 4, 2017 at 9:02 pm

    The manufacturer’s of the PVC pipe are at fault and should be charged for everything. After all, if they hadn’t manufactured the pipe this would not have happened. Liberal thinking.

    • SrAgri on April 5, 2017 at 11:16 am

      Don’t forget the guy who invented fire! I think he has some blame here.