Defendants accused of refusing officers' instructions

LOS ANGELES (CBS) — Criminal charges were filed on Tuesday against three members of an Orange County hip hop band accused in a publicity stunt on the Hollywood (101) Freeway that left thousands of motorists stuck in a miles-long backup.

Christopher Roy Wright, 32, David Paul Hale, 30, and Keith R. Yackey, 32, are charged with one felony count of conspiracy, two misdemeanor counts of resisting, obstructing or delaying Los Angeles police and California Highway Patrol officers and one misdemeanor count each of public nuisance and false imprisonment.

The three are accused of climbing on top of a truck decorated with pictures of the band and its logos about 11 a.m. on Oct. 12 and performing as traffic ground to a halt around the vehicle, which blocked three of the four southbound lanes of the freeway near Sunset Boulevard.

Police arrived and three arrests were made, but the driver took the keys to the truck and drove off in another vehicle. A tow truck had to be called in to remove the vehicle, with the freeway lanes reopened shortly after noon.

“This was not a matter involving free speech or lawful protest,” Los Angeles County District Attorney Steve Cooley said. “This was a well-orchestrated commercial stunt perpetrated by these defendants and their accomplices with no concern for the lives or well-being of thousands of innocent victims who were caught up in the prank.”

The defendants — who will be arraigned next month — are accused of repeatedly refusing officers’ instructions to stop playing their musical instruments, get down off the vehicle and move the truck.

The criminal complaint also alleges that the vehicle was specially outfitted for the concert and that the date of the freeway “concert” was changed from Columbus Day to one day later “so that more vehicles would be on the freeway and thus cause a bigger disruption.”

The Imperial Stars, a self-described “hard-core hip-hop band” from Orange County, has a song called “Traffic Jam 101.”

(©2010 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Wire services contributed to this report.)

Comments (22)
  1. Fed Up says:

    What a crock! They’re being charged with a felony? It is ridiculous to make these guys felons for a stunt that only made a few people waste their time sitting in their car. I hope a judge throws out the felony charges. If anything, they should have been charged with a misdemeanor for obstruction and blocking traffic. Steve Cooley is an idiot, I’m glad he lost the election to Kamala Harris.

    1. morons says:

      You’re a moron! What if you were on an ambulance trying to get to a hospital? or your kid was sick? Those idiots should absolutely face a felony

    2. Matthew says:

      I disagree, I hope this is a lesson for all the other immature adults in the world that need to know that the world doesn’t revolve around them and there are laws that we all must abide by…If you choose not to obey them, then you must suffer the consequences.

    3. bigjim says:

      Conspiracy to commit a crime is a FELONY irregardless of the underlying charges. If you and a couple of friends decide to toliet paper a house the TP incident is a misdemeanor the act of getting together to plan the TP of the house is a FELONY. Read the State of California Penal Code before you comment about something you obviously know nothing about, and as for a “minor inconvience” I had a client who had his case against someone dismissed because he was unable to get to the courthouse and the judeg called it a “no show.” So now he has to pay to appeal the decision and it will cost him more. These clowns should be held responsible and be forced to pay damages to those they inconvienced.

    4. Rosie says:

      Why not a felony?! Have you questioned every single person stuck in that traffic jam? Do you know if they had a sick person in the car or a dying relative they couldn’t get to because these idiots blcked the freeway? They deserve it and if not jail time they deserve a huge fine!

    5. RAGE says:

      If you were stuck in that traffic jam, you would think otherwise. People had other important things to do rather than wait for a bunch of idiots to stop playing. Hope this teaches them a lesson to play in more appropriate places. Idiots!!

    6. Saber 1 says:

      Fed Up Mor on,
      People sit in their vehicles enough in traffic on our outdated freeways. Good thing you ddin’t need 911, These people should do no less than 2 years for each charge.

  2. Urbie Green says:

    What a joke, they should have said they were there for Illegal Aliens rights, and then they would have had the Mayor condoning their actions, and the police standing by for hours. How many ambulances where detoured from Wilshire Blvd. the last time the illegals protested,and blocked the street for hours and not a complaint from any city official.

  3. Jess says:

    Um, I was stuck in that traffic jam. Had to come into work late and worked overtime to make up for my lost time. These people want to waste time on a freeway to promote their single, then they should be paying big buck to Uncle Sam

  4. 1900innoho says:

    Maybe they will perform for the inmates at the country jail or prison.

  5. freethinker says:

    @ Fed Up: obviously ypu don’t drive much on the freeways in L.A. “A few people”? That traffic obstruction affected hundreds of people, and I know people who were stuck there and said that it blocked all traffic in that direction on the 101 or 90 minures. I say throw the book at these inconsiderate thugs. They were not doing this to publicize the homelessness issue, but to publicize their “band”.

    @ Urbie Green: Wilshire Blvd. is not a freeway.

  6. freethinker says:

    Typo: I meant to say it blocked traffic for 90 minutes.

  7. Reply to Fed Up says:

    You are wrong; the band is ridiculous. I was stuck on the freeway that day. I missed an appointment with my doctor who is a specialist. I waited for three months for that appointment.

    Moreover, more than a “few people” had their time wasted; thousands of people were affected by this “stun” that was done in order to promote the music of these self-absorbed, inconsiderate jerks.

    However, the felony conspiracy charge is frequently used as a inducement to guilty pleas. I think that the felony charge will ultimately be dropped in exchange for guilty pleas on the misdemeanors. The state has already spent enough on arresting these jerks from OC. I will be happy if the state can save some money by getting a guilty plea in the prosecution.

  8. FartsFarts says:

    Yes, I wish they were all castrated so that they can not breed more self-absorbed idiots. I wish the “people sitting in there cars for a few minutes” got out and beat them up real nice. Yes, they deserve a felony for this. One year in jail will so them some real hip hop.

  9. Phil Spookter says:

    I heard they’ve been charged with three felony counts of seriously sucking a$$.

  10. g says:

    Hell yea charge them!!! that was dangerous!! ridiculous! and a waste of city resources on these idiots!!!!!

  11. Arnold S. says:

    Felony sounds correct. Think twice next time,idiots!!!

    KCAL: stop mentioning their stupid band.

  12. Dudeman says:

    They should lock them up and make them listen to thier own pathetic white boy wanna-be rap . Know that would be cruel and unusal punishment.

  13. Wow, almost forgot about these guys! And in about 2 minutes, I’ll forget about them again!

  14. Bryan says:

    yes, charged them for good.. never know that workers show up late and supervisor will not happy to hear it. drivers alway hurry and go to work on time. keep vehicles moving on time, not late. Bands did not respected.. Glad that they are charged by the court! Thanks to Judge!

  15. Paul says:

    Proof positive that stupid people shouldn’t breed.

  16. Mike says:

    So, people sat there for an hour-plus watching some idiots block traffic with a promo skit and nobody had the gumption to get on that truck and do some serious, face-to-face negotiations? Pansy epidemic on the 101.

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