By their own admission, the three roommates had been out “honky tonking” that night. It was a little after 11 on July 8, 1953, when Edward Watters, 28, Thomas Wilson, 20, and Arnold “Buddy” Payne, 19, found themselves traveling down a lonely stretch of Highway 78 west of Atlanta. Wilson and Payne shouted for Watters to stop. He slammed the brakes, but it was too late. They’d hit something.