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A body was found on I-24 during rush hour traffic in Chattanooga

During a trip from Nashville, TN to Atlanta, GA on Wednesday, my route took me through Chattanooga, TN around 6 p.m. right in the middle of rush hour traffic. It is normal to see heavy traffic during this time of day but something was different this time. I cautiously made my way up the steep hill that crosses over the scenic Missionary Ridge trying to avoid rear-ending the cars ahead of me . While talking on the phone (hands free) I noticed that there was no west bound traffic which was unusual because the person on the other end of the phone said that the west bound traffic on I-24 was backed up.

Ridge Cut on I-24 in Chattanooga, TN
Photo courtesy of Nathan Gayle

As I topped the hill and began to descend toward the I-75 interchange heading toward Atlanta, my headset started getting all sorts of interference and my call was interrupted. This brief interruption caused my attention to focus on the multiple police vehicles positioned on the Interstate with crime scene tape surrounding something on the left side of the road. It was at this time that I saw the most gruesome thing that I've seen in all my days of driving.

Instinctively you would expect to see mangled cars or something to indicate that an accident had just happened. I looked again and only noticed police vehicles in the area. I began to look for an ambulance on the scene or perhaps one in route to the scene as the west bound traffic was caught in a spot where there was no place to exit and get around the scene.

Focusing on the area inside the taped off circle, there was something that appeared to be debris. A closer look revealed the bloody face of a white male which appeared to be a rather large individual. The Chattanooga police have not identified this individual pending notification of the next of kin.

This entire scene was eerie because the worst thing you can do to a trucker is to make him or her have to wait in traffic without any idea when the traffic will be moving again. It is common knowledge that how ever the body appeared in the middle of the Interstate, during that time of day somebody was traveling that section of road and saw something. Realizing this to be the case, I turned on my CB to get a first hand report.

After inquiring into the reason for the back-up and informing the CB'ers of what I had just witnessed, a calm female voice came on the air and said, "This city needs to spend more money on suicide prevention."

Update: July 3, 2014

The body found on Wednesday has been identified as 72-year-old Malcolm Fletcher. The police are treating this accident as a suicide and do not suspect any fowl play.