Gas leak forces road closure

LILBURN - A gas leak in front of the Intown Suites Hotel on U.S. Highway 78 near Killian Hill Road caused authorities to close the highway to traffic Friday night.

The leak in a high-pressure line, reported at 8:37 p.m., was possibly caused by a road construction crew digging with a backhoe earlier in the evening near the roadway, said Capt. Thomas Rutledge, spokesman for the Gwinnett County Fire Department.

No evacuations were ordered, but guests of the extended-stay hotel were asked to remain inside their rooms as a precaution, Rutledge said.

Officials with Atlanta Gas Light stopped the leak at about 10 p.m.

Man dies hours after jail release

ATHENS - An Athens man didn't get to enjoy freedom for long.

Police said 49-year-old Walter Lee Elam Jr. was found dead early Thursday morning on a sidewalk near downtown just a few hours after he was released from the Clarke County jail.

Police said he had a medical condition and had two bottles of prescription medicine with him. Clarke County deputy coroner Virgil Welch said an autopsy performed late Thursday was inconclusive and it will be three weeks before he gets results from toxicology tests.