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Band whose concert jammed 101 Freeway pleads no contest

October 29, 2012 |  5:16 pm

101 traffic jam

Three band members whose impromptu concert infuriated commuters by causing gridlock on the 101 Freeway in Hollywood two years ago pleaded no contest Monday to several charges, including conspiracy, but they will receive no jail time.

In addition to the conspiracy charge, Imperial Stars members Christopher Roy Wright, 34; David Paul Hale, 32; and Keith R. Yackey, 33, made an open plea before Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Norm Shapiro to felony conspiracy counts as well as misdemeanor charges of public nuisance and interfering with law enforcement.

Shapiro immediately sentenced each one to three years' formal probation and ordered them perform 35 days of community service. Despite an objection from prosecutors, he also ruled the felony could be reduced to a misdemeanor in 18 months.

The plea stems from a stunt on Oct. 12, 2010, in which a large truck sporting an advertisement for the band blocked all but one lane of the southbound 101 Freeway at Sunset Boulevard.

The truck driver fled with the keys while the band performed a concert atop the truck, complete with its own film crew. The group has a song called "Traffic Jam 101."

The freeway musicians didn't have more than about 20 minutes to perform before they were swarmed by Los Angeles Police Department officers, followed by California Highway Patrol officers and Fire Department personnel.

It is unclear whether the band is still together and performing.


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-- Andrew Blankstein

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Photo: The scene on the southbound 101 Freeway in October 2010. Credit: Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times