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Band members face conspiracy charge in freeway stunt [Updated]

October 13, 2010 |  3:26 pm

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