If you commute to Atlanta
on a daily basis, chances are that you know who Keith Kalland was. If you ever drove through Atlanta during rush hour at any point in the past 15 years and turned to the radio for help, chances are that it was Keith who helped you out. From his chopper
, Keith guided commuter
s through the hellish nightmare
that is rush-hour
Atlanta traffic, often entertaining them with his quick wit and extensive vocabulary.
Before going to work as a traffic reporter, he was a sports reporter for the Rockdale Neighbor and other weekly newspapers. In 1987, he took to the skies for less than minimum wage and a Dodge Omni. "I had to do it. I needed that car." But Keith didn't just report on the traffic. He actually gave commuters alternate routes around whatever traffic problems there may have been on what he once dubbed "a lugubrious litany of traffic mayhem." Many people saw him as a hero because of this.
While Keith's keen reporting helped many through the morning and evening madness, it was his sense of humor that made him so popular. One his his more famous quips was "There's a tractor-trailer overturned on I-20 near Arbor Place Mall and rubberneckers are only exacerbating the situation. And remember, exacerbation is still legal in the state of Georgia." He also had a certain affinity for objects he'd find in the road during his routine patrol. Especially ladders. "The ubiquitous ladder in the roadway," he'd call them. Lance Locher, vice president of Clear Channel Atlanta and Keith's employer once said, "I think he goes out of his way to find ladders in the road."
Keith Kalland died of a heart attack at 7:00PM EST on November 18th, 2002 at John Glancy Memorial Hospital. He was 51. Those who brave the horrendous morning and evening traffic on Atlanta's "Big Three" have forever lost a great friend and a great man.