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Band members face conspiracy charge in freeway stunt [Updated]

Three members of a rock band whose impromptu concert on the 101 Freeway snarled traffic and left commuters seething will face misdemeanor conspiracy charges, the Los Angeles city attorney's office said Wednesday. [Updated at 6:28 p.m.: An earlier version of this post said the band members had been charged. The charges are still pending.]

Imperial Stars members Keith Richard Yackey, 31, of Las Vegas and vocalist Christopher Roy Wright, 32, of Garden Grove were released from Los Angeles County jail after each posting $10,000 bail. Musician David Paul Hale, 30, of Stanton, who is not listed on the band's website, also was released on $10,000 bail.

KTLA-TV Channel 5 reported that one of the band members, who was not identified, said he would do it again.

On Tuesday, the musicians were on a modified truck that pulled across three lanes of the southbound 101 Freeway just south of the Sunset Boulevard offramp and then scrambled to the top of the vehicle, where they began playing a song called "Traffic Jam 101." California Highway Patrol said they believed it was a publicity stunt.

The trio originally were booked by the CHP on suspicion of malicious and willful disturbance by loud noise, willful obstruction of public officers or emergency medical personnel, committing an act injuring the public health and unlawful assembly.

Sources familiar with the case said that city prosecutors ultimately settled on the conspiracy charge, in part based on the conclusion that the truck used in the stunt had a trap door and the roof was reinforced with wood.

They said none of the suspects had "significant criminal records" and that the CHP had impounded the truck and speakers.

-- Andrew Blankstein

Photo: Members of the Imperial Stars block the 101 Freeway in Hollywood. Credit: Irfan Khan /Los Angeles Times

Comments () | Archives (22)

These guys were trying to raise awareness for child homelessness. I wonder how they feel knowing that $30,000 in bail money could have gone to actually help homeless kids. What a bunch of idiots.

Some pranks are crimes. Good luck getting your truck back

Yeah not really worth commenting on...thanks guys for wasting somebody's commute.

I feel for anyone that was in this mess and / or makes a terrible commute:

In far, northern CA where I live, I travel 7 miles on 2 lane road and 7 miles on I-5. It takes me 14 minutes if I have a green light (at the only signal) or 16 minutes if it is red.

Misdemeanor!? They really couldn't find a felony to charge them with? I hope someone denial-of-services their website into oblivion.

The charge carries a year in jail I hope. Great publicity but it shows the combined IQ of these guys equal to the freeway number they were on.

Brilliant stunt to get your name out there quickly. Unfortunately, their music truly does suck.

I thought that conspiracy to commit a misdemeanor was still a felony?

posting 10k bail means a bail bondsman was paid 1k to guarantee the 10k bond based on the person's promise to appear for the next court date. However bjames your point is well taken.

I cannot believe these morons.. Please charge them w/ something significant, hurt their wallets, treat them like the clowns that they are so other idiots do not copycat.

They would do it AGAIN????? They should get real jobs.

i'm all for freedom of speech, but this was asinine, they have no right to screw commuters (i was stuck there on tues morning), making us late for work, some risking our jobs because of a publicity stunt. and yes, their "music" is unlistenable.

ahahha. Cool. Wish I could have been there. (:

Is there a CARB regulation for bad noise?

If not, the dear old Northern Californian Air Resource Board will dream one up over night.

Smog that diesel! Sell that truck! Buy yourself a Hyundai, and get crushed like a smuck.

The city really needs to punish them harshly if only to prove that you can't get away with deliberately choking the 101 to promote your awful band

I don't care if they were stopping traffic to save all the children of the world, if you cause traffic, you're rightfully going to have a sea of angry Angelenos plowing into your truck.

causing traffic jam in so cal in willful manner is punishable by Chinese security police firing squad.

Imperial Stars? more like furious stares - we don't need any more traffic problems than exist already. Take their instruments away until they grow up.

I understand that its hard to break into the music biz these days. But this could have gotten someone killed. Any time you stop a vehicle across lanes of a busy freeway. You take a risk of a crash that could cause injury or death. These guys should do no less than a year in jail each.

The claim that they were trying to raise awareness for child homelessness is just a smoke screen. They figured they would not get the book thrown at them if they claimed they were doing it for a charitable cause, as opposed to the real reason they did it, which was crass publicity for a band of aging musicians who've never had any success.

I actually had nightmares about their music last night. All the marketing in the world won't help this group.

They should get Jail Time. They have shown a total disregard for the citizens of LA.


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