Bridge dweller arrested

Photo by Carly Farrell

Photo by Carly Farrell

ALBANY, Ga. -- A widely known squatter left for jail at about 2:30 p.m. Thursday after Albany Police Department officers arrested him for urinating in public.

Colin Bailey, 62, who recently has been living under the Liberty Bypass bridge at Slappey Boulevard, left peacefully with police and was booked into the Dougherty County Jail.

"The charges stem from a Feb. 11 complaint. The person reporting stated Bailey was seen urinating in the area as a van full of daycare children passed through," said Phyllis Banks, police spokeswoman.

"She stated the children witnessed the act. The arrest was also based on Bailey repeatedly violating the law."

Bailey has a history of living under the bridge. He and two other men had been living in the niche between the bridge deck and the ground for months.

As part of their way of life, they generated trash and lived among debris they used to shelter themselves. Their collection of material had drawn complaints from motorists passing under the bridge.

After complaints, the cleanup began with an Albany Code Enforcement Department crew Feb. 3. Bailey stayed; his friends gave up and moved on.

As part of its deal with the state, whose land the overpass sits on, crews returned again to clean the area Feb. 9. Using state prisoners as labor crews took bags of trash away. Bailey's personal items were left to him.

Bailey apparently left his spot that day, but not for long. A couple days later, his belongings were under the bridge again. Someone filed the public urination complaint leading to Bailey's arrest.

Bailey is also charged with prohibited camping in the city. Both the charges mean Bailey will have to appear before a Municipal Court judge.

"I can't go to a shelter. I don't get along with those people," Bailey said. "I don't do drugs. I don't break into houses. I don't murder people. I just want to be left alone. What am I supposed to do?"