ON AIR NOW

LISTEN NOW

Weather

clear-night
60°
Partly Cloudy
H 75° L 60°
  • clear-night
    60°
    Current Conditions
    Partly Cloudy. H 75° L 60°
  • cloudy-day
    71°
    Afternoon
    Partly Cloudy. H 75° L 60°
  • cloudy-day
    70°
    Evening
    Partly Cloudy. H 75° L 60°
LISTEN
PAUSE
ERROR

Wsb news on-demand

00:00 | 00:00

LISTEN
PAUSE
ERROR

Wsb traffic on-demand

00:00 | 00:00

LISTEN
PAUSE
ERROR

Wsb weather on-demand

00:00 | 00:00

Traffic

Click to interact Tap to interact

Traffic App

Events

5th Annual Capt Herb Memorial Toys For Tots Ride Our next traffic team event will be the annual spring motorcycle ride, in memory of Captain Herb Emory. A date and details coming soon. This ride winds through Douglas County on a Saturday morning, and raises money for Toys for Tots. Speaking of... HERB EMORY MEMORIAL TOYS FOR TOTS DRIVE The WSB Traffic Team THANKS YOU for your generosity this past Christmas season! Despite having to reschedule our event due to snow, our community raised $56,000 plus thousands of toys for metro Atlanta children! With the help of traffic troopers Mike Haney and Craig Nettleship, the traffic team hosted Tossing for Tots in September. Funds from this disc golf tournament help support our Christmas drive. Thanks to the sponsors and players who contributed over $5,000 and 120 toys for metro Atlanta Toys for Tots! To view photos from the event, which was held at J.P. Moseley Park in Stockbridge, click here.

The Gridlock Guy- Doug Turnbull

  • Emily Bowman stood up both eagerly and gingerly, holding her cane, and walked to the stage. Her mom, Deb, followed behind just in case Emily needed some help up the stairs. Deb, Emily and Emily’s dad Dale had been sitting for over an hour waiting for Emily’s moment in the sun. On Monday, Feb. 5, Cherokee County female high school athletes celebrated National Girls and Women in Sports Day with an annual ceremony honoring a current athlete, team, and alumnus from each Cherokee high school. Bowman played basketball at Woodstock high, graduated in 2011, and then went to Kennesaw State University. But everything literally came crashing to a halt on Feb. 13, 2013. While visiting friends in Athens, Emily was walking alongside a road and got struck by a drunk driver, who fled the scene. She suffered severe brain injuries, prompting multiple surgeries and years of therapy. At one point, doctors removed a piece of her skull to relieve brain swelling. The swelling was causing big swings in her bio rhythms. She almost didn’t make it. “We’re just one of the lucky ones, we got to keep her,” her father, who is also WSB Traffic Trooper Dale Bowman said. She eventually moved back home, had to use a wheelchair and was unable to talk. But in the years since, she has learned to walk, talk and read again. Her eventual goal is regained independence. “To persevere means to never give up on doing something, despite the difficulty or the delay in achieving success,” Bowman said from the podium, in her slow and deliberate cadence. As she accepted her honor, the crowd of several hundred teenage girls gave her loud applause and a standing ovation. After the speech at Cherokee High School, they stopped by to talk to her and take pictures. Bowman soaked up the moment. “I had a good time speaking, because I got comments on it after I spoke,” Bowman said, smiling. “And before it, I was nervous, but I guess it all paid off and turned out well.” Bowman’s encouraging words were nearly matched by her humor. She read a Michael Jordan quote during her speech about deciding to climb a wall, instead of turning from it. She then ad libbed, “I hope you never [have to] do that,” which spurred some laughs in the crowd, including her own. After the speech, she laughed about calling Michael Jordan “Michael Jackson”, even though she had practiced reading the speech many times. Her dad smiled, “Every day is something different - she keeps us in stitches.” Emily’s mom said that they hope to get her back into KSU soon in some inclusionary classes and, of course, they will continue therapy, so Emily can get better at her speech and motor movements. But the future could wait a day. Emily Bowman on this Monday was a rock star at the end of this ceremony. Plaque-in-hand, the Bowman family has this as one of many tokens acknowledging what they overcame and how they are examples to others of how determined they are. This family thought they would lose their daughter and there she stood, holding an award, cracking jokes, walking, and flashing her beautiful smile. The drunken indiscretions of one young man in a truck five years ago somehow didn’t take this from them. That’s the biggest trophy in all of this — life. Doug Turnbull, the PM drive airborne anchor for Triple Team Traffic on News 95-5 FM and AM-750 WSB is the Gridlock Guy. He also writes a traffic blog and hosts a podcast with Smilin’ Mark McKay on wsbradio.com. Contact him at doug.turnbull@coxinc.com
  • Last week in this space we discussed the looming possibility of a total hands-free requirement for Georgia drivers using mobile devices behind the wheel. Brand new testing in metro Atlanta frees those same hands from the steering wheel and takes a driver’s feet off of the pedals, sources told WSB and the AJC exclusively. Waymo, Google parent company Alphabet’s autonomous vehicle division, has just begun on Thursday mapping metro Atlanta roads. The governor’s office says this puts Georgia at the forefront in this technology. “With our talented workforce and legacy of innovation, Georgia is at the forefront of the most dynamic, cutting edge industries like autonomous vehicles,” Gov. Nathan Deal said. “We are thrilled to welcome Waymo to our state because fully self-driving vehicle technology holds tremendous potential to improve road safety, and we are proud Georgia is paving the way for the future of transportation.” Waymo uses autonomous cars - that is cars that can drive themselves, but people pilot them during the mapping phase. These cars, which in Atlanta are white Chrysler Pacifica vans with Waymo logos, have lasers that create 3D maps of the roads, curbs, signs and other features. This creates a backbone program that can allow vehicles to drive without any human assistance. These vans create more intricate views than the vans you may have seen before** from Google, which create the Street View on Google Maps. After mapping some parts of Metro Atlanta, they hope to begin testing these vehicles driving themselves. Waymo has not yet released details about this testing. In September, I rode along in a self-driving Tesla on the North Avenue smart corridor - a stretch of road redesigned with traffic signals and other features that communicate with smart cars and smartphones. The ride in that autonomous Tesla sold me on the abilities of self-driving technology. Between the detailed mapping and the car’s response to its 360 degrees of cameras, smart cars really could be a big step in lessening traffic congestion and decreasing wrecks. Waymo’s technology is a step further than current autonomous cars on the road, in that it is aiming for what those in the industry call “level four and level five” abilities. Self-driving cars on the market now still call for some human assistance behind the wheel. The next phase of that is vehicles where the “driver” could just chill in the backseat. That’s level four. The level five phase, those in the industry say, is similar to level four, but allows for this completely “human-less” driving in any kind of condition and in any place. Waymo currently has autonomous vehicle testing in 24 cities and in Arizona. In Arizona they will deploy driverless cars for ride-hailing later this year. That is the next play for Waymo: someone ordering a ride and then being picked up and dropped off with a driverless car. Since 2009, Waymo has been testing this technology and they have used it in production model cars, but also have created their own vehicles. That truly makes them an autonomous, autonomous car company. But autonomous car-use is still miles away from mainstream. People enjoy the independence of driving, but that urge seems to be waning. Drivers are pining to use other devices and do other things behind the wheel. A big roadblock for this technology is the cost, which right now is high. And another is in this transitional phase, where human drivers and robots are in the same space. Autonomous cars reliably react to other cars, no matter who is driving. But the environment works best when the cars can communicate with each other and make traffic move better. Studies show that about 94 percent of crashes involve human error. Aside from convenience, self-driving cars can make commuting safer. And that may be the biggest win in all of this. From a Waymo spokesperson, “Now that we have the world’s first fleet of fully self-driving cars on public roads, we’re focused on taking our technology to a wide variety of cities and environments. We’re looking forward to our testing in metro Atlanta and bringing this lifesaving technology to more people in more places.” Doug Turnbull, the PM drive airborne anchor for Triple Team Traffic on News 95-5 FM and AM-750 WSB is the Gridlock Guy. He also writes a traffic blog and hosts a podcast with Smilin’ Mark McKay on wsbradio.com. Contact him at doug.turnbull@coxinc.com
  • Atlanta has a few “traffic-geddons” every year, but Monday’s National Championship game at Mercedes-Benz Stadium could end up being one of the biggest Atlanta traffic problems of 2018. Keep in mind, we’re in early January. Atlanta has known for a long time this game and the surrounding fan events were coming, but now the Georgia Bulldogs are playing in it, with the nearby Alabama Crimson Tide as the opponent. That factor alone means the local energy and traffic will be at a fever pitch. But now President Donald Trump is attending. This will be a traffic “bomb cyclone.” Trump’s intentions to attend surfaced Wednesday, as fans were scrambling to make plans to get tickets and make arrangements. This inspires an initial reaction of, “You’ve gotta be kiddin’ me!” Traffic through Downtown Atlanta will already be packed for the 8 p.m. game, the preceding Darius Rucker pre-game concert in Centennial Olympic Park (gates open at noon), arriving traffic for the next-day/weeklong market at AmericasMart, the start of school for Atlanta Public Schools and the first day of classes at Georgia Tech and Georgia State. The presidential motorcade draws road blocks for its entire stretch between either Dobbins AFB or Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport and the respective president’s destination. The Georgia State Patrol not only blocks the road the motorcade travels upon, but also the entrances to the said route. With I-75/85, I-20, Northside Drive and other roads surrounding The Benz as packed as can be expected, blocking them for 10 to 20 minutes or maybe more will no doubt cause extreme inconveniences during Trump’s trip both to and from the game. There really is no driving alternate to these jams. The president’s arrival could mirror when former Vice President Joe Biden came to speak at an Atlanta synagogue in September 2015, when the Falcons also had a preseason game and Georgia Tech was playing at home. Yes, traffic was a big mess then. To make matters worse, the weather will be miserable. WSB Radio meteorologist Kirk Mellish says cold rain and potentially a wintry mix could slow traffic even more, with temperatures right around the freezing mark. We know what rain does to a normal commute. If the rain were to turn into something more frozen, that could really me the poison cherry on top of the traffic nightmare sundae on Monday. There are two best bets for travel. If you aren’t going to the game or surrounding events, check with your employer about telecommuting, to keep yourself out of the gridlock. And if you do have business in Downtown Atlanta, particularly at the game or concerts themselves, take MARTA. MARTA announced Thursday that it is running a weekday schedule Sunday and is running extra trains Monday, with the last ones at 2 a.m. Tuesday. Mercedes-Benz Stadium has some of the best public transit access in the country - use it. And MARTA suggests buying your roundtrip tickets ahead of time, so you stand in line one less time at the Breeze Card machines. Another externality of the president’s presence is that it makes life especially rough for us traffic reporters just trying to cover the madness. The Secret Service requires GDOT to cut off its entire live camera system, preventing us from seeing the jams and problems in real time. And with Air Force One bearing down, there is a Temporary Flight Restriction for several hours, keeping both the WSB Skycopter and Newschopper 2 grounded for the duration. We can only pray that the rain holds off during the height of PM drive, that people take MARTA and telecommute, and that maybe, just maybe Trump take a helicopter from the airport. That isn’t likely. So we will just pray even louder, “Go Dawgs!”
  • Distractions, like snowflakes, come in many forms. Violations of either the state or human code often happen in little variances and not in intentional, egregious ways. What often starts as a small crime, a rationalization or an ignored detail can end up with serious consequences. Distracted and drunk driving are the mistakes. Death and injury can be the results. TEAM Georgia is a safe and sober driving coalition whose main mission is to promote that message and to get fans at different events to pledge not to drink and drive. This pledge often comes with a voucher for a free soda at the event’s concession stands. TEAM Georgia has worked in the past with the Falcons and Braves and currently sustains an army of volunteers to work events at the Infinite Energy Center in Duluth, GSU Stadium and KSU’s Fifth Third Bank Stadium. I have both volunteered with TEAM Georgia and sit on its board. Captain Herb Emory was a founding member. At its annual holiday press conference this week, TEAM Georgia released some sobering driving stats. While four died in alcohol-related crashes between Dec. 23, 2015 and Jan. 3, 2016, there were 289 booze-related wrecks with 181 injuries in that time. And in the last five years, 28 percent of all December crash deaths in the U.S. involved a driver with a blood alcohol content above the .08 legal limit. Another nemesis to safety is distracted driving and Atlanta’s Jim Ellis Automotive Group is putting its money where its mouth is on the issue. President and CEO Jimmy Ellis says that he wants both his employees and the general public to make a pledge to limit these distractions. “All too often we hear of vehicle accidents and lives lost as the result of distracted driving,” Ellis said. “As an organization that helps meet the mobility needs of our local communities, we also want to be a voice in those same communities challenging drivers to operate their vehicles responsibly. I invite you to join with my family and the Jim Ellis Automotive staff in a pledge to be a more attentive driver. Put away distractions that take your eyes off the road, your hands off the wheel and your mind off the drive ahead. We each have the capability to make the roads we drive on at least one driver safer.” The pledge is straightforward: “I pledge to keep my EYES on the road, my HANDS on the wheel and my MIND on the drive ahead.” Distractions are more than just texting. Phone calls, messing with the interactive dash, GPS and even eating and drinking can all compromise decision-making behind the wheel. For every new pledge to drive alert, Jim Ellis Automotive Group will donate to the National Safety Council, an organization that lobbies for this cause. Sign up to make the pledge on JimEllis.com. The city of Smyrna had to delay its vote on a total hands-free (from devices) law until Jan. 2, but momentum seems to be swinging toward its passing. Some Georgia lawmakers are considering pushing through a similar law statewide later in 2018. The pendulum policy-wise seems to be swinging in a more stringent direction. Frustration with other distracted drivers seems to be at an all-time high, based on feedback I get from AJC readers and WSB listeners. But whether the problem is distracted or impaired driving, the solution always starts with ourselves. No matter the laws, we can make that first step. We can and should make that pledge to drive safe and sober — and save lives. Doug Turnbull, the PM drive airborne anchor for Triple Team Traffic on News 95-5 FM and AM-750 WSB is the Gridlock Guy. He also writes a traffic blog and hosts a podcast with Smilin’ Mark McKay on wsbradio.com. Contact him at doug.turnbull@coxinc.com
  • Forecasts for this past weekend’s winter weather scare called mostly for light snow that would only accumulate on surfaces other than roads. By Friday mid-morning, after many had gotten to work or school, the skies opened for far more snow than predicted. As the giant, fluffy flakes quickly coated trees and grass in the north, west, and southwest metro area (with apologies to Conyers and McDonough), employers and school officials faced a tough decision. Atlanta immediately had a flashback to Snowmageddon 2014, when tens of thousands got stuck in traffic jams all over town and then frozen in place. Fortunately, this system did not carry with it freezing rain and temperatures largely remained above freezing until Friday evening. But the traffic jams did exist. Friday morning drive was a snooze fest, as seemingly just enough people called it a day to keep the inbound rush moving. But once schools set early dismissals and businesses began to let out, gridlock ensued and that 2014 nightmare crystallized. Small trips took over an hour and big treks across the metro took three to five hours. But for as much gridlock as there was and as bad as weather conditions deteriorated, there wasn’t a tremendous number of crashes. And by 4 or 5 p.m., the jams dramatically improved. Friday’s ride home was pretty much a really bad and snowy version of a holiday rush hour. It happened early. The weather being just snow and not ice helped things, but so did GDOT’s preparations. Both state and local crews pre-treated roads, beginning Thursday night and then continued adding brine, salt, and a little mayo (okay, not mayo) for the duration. With some exceptions like on I-20 west of town and Highway 140 at the Fulton-Cherokee line, major roads stayed largely passable and few people got stuck. When the sun arose Saturday morning, most roads were wet and slushy. Hills, bridges, and overpasses were tough, but people generally could get around, though GDOT urged them to stay off the roads. Just plain rainy, wet roads see increased wrecks, so icy roads surely would see a rash of crashes. Our monitoring from the WSB 24-Hour Traffic Center really didn’t pick up that crash outbreak. The biggest surprise in this December snow was the amount of trees and wires that fell. Even without freezing rain, the timber patrol was in full force, as the heavy snow bent over and pulled down thousands of trees and wires. Crews in Cobb, Cherokee, Douglas, Paulding, and Carroll counties saw the most widespread problems. This makes sense as some of the western suburbs got a foot of snow. 911 dispatchers in some of those counties urged me to tell WSB Radio listeners to just stay off of the roads, because there were so many downed trees and small wrecks. Trees even came down on parts of I-20/westbound in western Douglas County around Post Rd., so many that it was almost impassable Saturday morning. That stretch if I-20 was the worst interstate in this storm, but nothing like in 2014, when trucks got stranded for days. Considering how much snow fell and how many people went to work and school Friday, Atlanta braved this heavy snow well. There were semblances of all kinds of problems that normally characterize Atlanta wintry weather. But public emergency agencies took the threat seriously, as did the private sector. And North Georgia got good luck in the form of zero frozen rain. All of this combined to make Atlanta’s handling of the storm mostly a success. Doug Turnbull, the PM drive airborne anchor for Triple Team Traffic on News 95-5 FM and AM-750 WSB is the Gridlock Guy. He also writes a traffic blog and hosts a podcast with Smilin’ Mark McKay on wsbradio.com. Contact him at doug.turnbull@coxinc.com

News

  • Before his death, Rev. Billy Graham chose one of his favorite Scripture verses from the Bible to be placed on his grave marker. >> Read more trending news Graham selected John 14:6 and the following inscription to be on his marker: BILLY GRAHAM NOVEMBER 7, 1918 – FEBRUARY 21, 2018 PREACHER OF THE GOSPEL OF THE LORD JESUS CHRIST JOHN 14:16 John 14:6 reads, “Jesus answered, ‘I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.'” >> Evangelist Billy Graham dies at 99 The verse was central in Graham’s preaching ministry, and he often referred to it throughout his life. Graham will be buried next to his late wife, Ruth Bell Graham, who died June 14, 2007. The couple’s caskets were designed and built by inmates at the nation’s largest maximum security prison, Louisiana State Penitentiary in Angola, Louisiana. >> Photos: Billy Graham through the years While touring the correctional facility after preaching there in 2005, Graham’s son, Franklin, saw caskets being built. Inmates at Angola make caskets for other inmates who cannot afford to buy one. Franklin was moved by this and requested that inmates make caskets for his mother and father. The caskets are made of plywood and lined with a mattress pad. A wooden cross is nailed to the top of the casket. The Graham family requested no upgrades to the plywood casket, only a few modifications to allow the casket to be transported easily.
  • Latest updates, results, photo galleries and stories from the 2018 Winter Olympic Games.
  • Officials in a school district in Pennsylvania decided to cancel classes for Friday after an alleged threat was found at a high school. >> Read more trending news The Greater Latrobe School District announced that a note was found in a bathroom at Greater Latrobe Senior High School, school officials said. The note was scribbled on a bathroom wall and mentioned Friday's date.  >> Teen’s warning thwarts possible school shooting in Vermont School leaders do not think it's credible, but are canceling classes at all five schools in the district as a precaution.
  • A bipartisan group of governors working to strike compromise on hot-button policy issues will take on the health care question at an event Friday. Republican Gov. John Kasich, of Ohio, Democratic Gov. John Hickenlooper, of Colorado, and Alaska Gov. Bill Walker, an independent, are among governors scheduled to headline a briefing at the National Press Club in Washington to discuss their latest ideas for improving the nation's health care system. Their blueprint, a copy of which was provided to The Associated Press, lays out a host of ideas for improving affordability, restoring stability, promoting flexibility so that states can innovate and eliminating duplicative and burdensome insurance regulations. The governors urge the federal government to restore insurer subsidies that were stopped by Republican President Donald Trump, triggering sharp increases in premiums this year. They also seek more outreach to help sign people up for coverage. Last year, the Trump administration slashed the ad budget for the Affordable Care Act's 2018 sign-up season. The governors also recommend action to shield insurers from the full cost of treatment for patients with very expensive conditions. That's called 're-insurance' in industry jargon. Alaska has already implemented such a program, with the blessing of the federal government, and it helped control premiums in that state. The idea has bipartisan support in Congress, but the outlook is uncertain. Their proposal doesn't merely call for federal government action, it also provides examples of effective state efforts that can be used as examples at both the federal and state levels, said Greg Moody, who leads Kasich's Office of Health Transformation. The blueprint incorporates agreeable solutions that states have found, for example, to streamlining regulations and cutting Medicaid costs, he said. Kasich, Hickenlooper and Walker are joined in the effort by Nevada's Brian Sandoval, a Republican, and Pennsylvania's Tom Wolf, a Democrat. A guiding principle of the group's work, according to the document, is to 'reject false choices' — items that are leading to some of the biggest disagreements around the nation over health care. For instance, it's not necessary to choose between ensuring high quality care and reducing costs, or between being fiscally responsible and being generous and humane, the group argues. They say a quality health care system can foster individual accountability and at the same time support people in need. ___ Associated Press Health Care Reporter Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar in Washington contributed to this report.
  • A man was followed after a Buckhead bar fight and shot as he was driving, police said. Investigators are not sure where the shooting took place early Friday, but say the man managed to drive himself to a Hampton Inn on Piedmont Road and ask for help. According to Channel 2 Action News, the fight originally took place at the Whisky Mistress bar on Maple Drive. After the scuffle, the victim left the bar, got into his Audi and drove off, the news station reported. At some point, the shooter opened fire. “Somewhere between the Whisky Mistress and the Hampton Inn, the suspect fired one shot toward the victim’s vehicle,' Capt. Andrew Senzer told Channel 2. 'That round penetrated the vehicle and struck the victim.' The injured man had a gun, too. However, there is no evidence he returned fire, police said. He was taken to Atlanta Medical Center in stable condition and is expected to survive, Senzer said. The gunman is still on the loose. “We’re trying to locate an actual crime scene where the shooting occurred,” Senzer said. This is the fourth time this week someone has been shot while driving. The others occurred early Thursday. Someone in an SUV drove around the city and randomly shot two people, police said. Two people were arrested in connection with those shootings. RELATED: 2 arrested in connection with series of random shootings A father was killed hours later in front of his children after someone opened fire on their car as they pulled into their DeKalb County subdivision, police said. No arrests have been made in that case, but authorities are investigating if the incident is related to the two shootings in Atlanta. RELATED: Man shot, killed in front of wife and children We’re working to learn more. —Please return to AJC.com for updates. VIEW: Map of crime in metro Atlanta NEW: Join the discussion at the AJC's Crime & Safety Facebook group Know what’s really going on with crime and public safety in your metro Atlanta community, including breaking news, trial coverage, trends and the latest on unsolved cases. Sign up for the AJC’s crime and safety newsletter delivered weekly to your inbox. In other news:
  • The founder of one of China's biggest insurers, who had discussed possibly investing in a Manhattan skyscraper owned by the family of U.S. President Donald Trump's son-in-law and adviser, will be prosecuted for financial offenses and regulators have taken control of his company, the government announced Friday. Anbang Insurance Group chairman Wu Xiaohui is charged with improper fundraising and 'taking others' money,' according to a statement by the Shanghai prosecutor's office. It gave no details and there was no indication the charges were linked to Wu's talks with Jared Kushner's family, which ended last March with no deal. The case adds to an avalanche of scandals in China's insurance industry. The former chief regulator was charged in September with taking bribes and executives of other insurers have been charged with corruption or mismanagement. Regulators took control of Anbang, which owns Manhattan's Waldorf Astoria Hotel, to protect its solvency and consumer rights, the China Insurance Regulatory Commission said on its website. It said the company will be run by a committee of officials from China's central bank, foreign exchange regulator and other agencies. The takeover will not affect Anbang's debt obligations, the statement said. Chinese regulators are in the midst of a campaign to reduce financial risks and rein in surging debt that private sector analysts worry could lead to a banking crisis or drag on economic growth. Insurers have been accused of engaging in reckless speculation in stocks and real estate. The chairman of a life insurance company was barred from the industry last year in an unrelated case and a third company was prohibited from trading stocks. Anbang has been under scrutiny since a multibillion-dollar string of global acquisitions raised questions about how it paid for its buying spree, including the $2 billion purchase of the Waldorf. Anbang's negotiations with Kushner Cos. about a possible investment in its flagship property, 666 Fifth Ave., prompted members of the U.S. Congress to raise ethics concerns. Five lawmakers said in a letter to the White House the possible deal represented a 'clear conflict of interest.' They asked the Trump administration to confirm Kushner, who transferred his ownership stake to other family members, played no role in the negotiations. Questions about Anbang's future have swirled since the company announced Wu gave up his duties to deputies in June following news reports he was detained for questioning about unspecified financial offenses. News reports have accused Anbang of misreporting the source of money used for acquisitions. Regulators warned Anbang and other Chinese insurers last year about their sales of short-term insurance policies that paid high interest rates. Anbang used such sales to raise billions of dollars. Anbang, founded in 2004, gained a reputation for aggressive expansion in a stodgy industry dominated by state-owned insurers. It grew to more than 30,000 employees with 35 million clients and diversified into life insurance, banking, asset management, leasing and brokerage services. Early investors included a state-owned automaker, an oil company and a mix of rural villagers and small business owners. Anbang, which is privately held, said earlier it raised 50 billion yuan ($8 billion) in capital in 2014 by taking on dozens of new shareholders. That increased its registered capital fivefold to 62 billion yuan ($9.5 billion), the biggest among Chinese insurers. A prominent business magazine, Caixin, said in May at least 30 billion yuan ($4.3 billion) of that money really came from premiums paid by policyholders — a violation of insurance regulations. Anbang denied that and accused Caixin of publishing negative information about the company and Wu after pressing it to buy advertising. Friday's CIRC statement confirmed earlier news reports the agency sent investigators to Anbang in June. It said they pushed for unspecified improvements in operations and management. Anbang's buying spree stumbled after Beijing tightened investment controls in late 2016. Regulators said they wanted to cool spending on foreign real estate and other assets they said did nothing to develop China's economy. Following that, Anbang failed to complete several deals, including the proposed purchase of U.S.-based Fidelity & Guaranty Life for $1.6 billion.