Man faces charges after climbing I-65 sign, causing 2-hour closure

(Courtesy: iReport2/Scott Farrell)
(Courtesy: iReport2/Scott Farrell)

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – A man persuaded to climb down from a sign above Interstate 65 early Tuesday evening after causing a 2-hour shut down will be facing charges.

Metro police told News 2 the man, identified as 46-year-old William Walters, was taken to a hospital for a mental observation. He wasn’t physically injured.

Walter faces charges of obstructing a roadway and disorderly conduct after he climbed the highway sign before 3:30 p.m.

Authorities shut down I-65 in both directions at Rosa Parks Boulevard for hours, causing serious traffic delays and back ups through the area.

Drivers were eventually turned around and rerouted in southbound lanes around 5 p.m., but northbound drivers were at a standstill until Walters was convinced by negotiators to come down just before 6 p.m.

Metro police also said he had an ID on him at the time from the Seattle’s Union Gospel Mission, a men’s shelter in Seattle, Washington, and it was issued in March 2014.

At this time, it isn’t clear what Walter’s intentions were or why he climbed the sign.

Driver Nadeem Qureshi got stuck on I-65 and said it took him two and half hours to get home. He lives in Old Hickory.

He told News 2 drivers got out of their cars and were yelling at Walters, telling him to come down because they wanted to go home.

News 2 spoke to two others who got stuck in the traffic after the interstate was shut down.

“My daughter has a game tonight so I’m trying to get there I am running late I need to get gas so I’m coming the back way to get here because traffic was so so, so much,” said Linda Brown, a driver who got stuck in the traffic.

“I saw on WKRN that it was backed up and I decided to just hang out at work a little bit longer just to let some of it clear, and unfortunately I didn’t wait long enough,” said Angie Blackman, who lives in Antioch.

Even some people who weren’t stuck were inconvenienced, including Milton Thomas who works at an East Nashville daycare.

“The parents who were coming to get the kids were stuck in the traffic to come and get the kids so we had to stay open a little longer,” he said.

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