Gas giveaway clogs gridlocked corner
Backing up traffic for miles was point of radio promotion
By George Hunter / The Detroit News

SOUTHFIELD -- A local radio station announced Monday it was giving away hundreds of gallons of gasoline -- and the ensuing traffic jam had motorists and police fuming.

Detroit radio station WGRV-FM 105.1, gave away 105 tanks of gasoline at Morrie's Sunoco station, at 10 Mile and Southfield -- one of Metro Detroit's busiest intersections.

Disc jockeys hyped the event all day Monday, teasing listeners by announcing the giveaway of the gas, but wouldn't give out the location.

Then at 4:40 p.m., the station announced the gasoline giveaway would be at Morrie's. Within minutes, cars lined up for hundreds of yards down Southfield Road.

Police tried to talk the radio station out of holding the promotion at the already-busy intersection, said Southfield Police Chief Joseph Thomas.

"We called the station and asked them if they could do it another way," Thomas said. "That intersection is already pretty bad, and we were hoping they would hold their promotion in another location."

Backing up traffic for miles was the whole point of the promotion, said WGRV spokeswoman Julie Maxwell.

"The idea is to be visible," Maxwell said.

Twila Young of Southfield agreed that the promotion should've been held elsewhere. "It's already too busy here," Young said. "There are a lot of accidents here. I just don't think it's a good idea."

Joe Boynton of Detroit had planned to take advantage of the promotion -- but as he sat in the logjam on Southfield Road, about 300 yards from the Sunoco station, he considered changing his mind.

"I've already got a half-tank of gas," Boynton said. "It isn't worth it."

Copyright 2000, The Detroit News

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