Rockers Who Shut Down Freeway Face Judge

Members of Imperial Stars, the Orange County-based band who played a concert in the middle of the 101 Freeway, appeared in court Friday.

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    NEWSLETTERS

    David Paul Hale, Christopher Roy Wright and Keith R. Yackey appear in court on Aug. 5, 2011.

    Just a few miles down the freeway from a publicity stunt that snarled Los Angeles traffic for miles, three rock 'n' rollers appeared sans instruments in a sparsely filled courtroom on Friday.

    During the brief, routine hearing, David Paul Hale, Christopher Roy Wright and Keith R. Yackey waived their right to a speedy trial.

    The case was continued, with a pretrial conference scheduled for Oct. 7.

    Hale's wavy blond hair hung loose over the shoulders of his pinstriped suit. Hands clasped in front of him, he bore a somber expression.  

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    The band stopped their van in the middle of the 101 Freeway Tuesday, backing up traffic for miles.

    His band mates seemed more at ease in the downtown LA courtroom, smiling before the hearing and on the way out.

    Yackey wore jeans and a button-up shirt with the sleeves rolled up. He was holding sunglasses, and on his way out, told the judge to "have a nice weekend."

    Wright kept his hands behind his back, and took off his jacket on the way out of the courtroom.

    On Oct. 12, 2010, the three members of the Orange County-based rock band Imperial Stars parked their oversized truck in the middle of the 101 Freeway near Sunset Boulevard, climbed on top and began playing to a captive audience of confused motorists, media helicopters and eventually, the California Highway Patrol and LAPD.

    Band members have insisted the stunt was an effort to raise awareness for homeless children.

    "Obviously our band has gotten a lot of notoriety because of it, because we're standing up for this cause that we think is very severe and serious in our country," Yackey said after an earlier court appearance.

    Motorists were not so sympathetic, posting irate comments on news websites, including NBC LA,  and flooding social media with calls for harsh justice.

    The incident garnered national news attention.

     At least for one day, Imperial Stars was the most despised band in all of Southern California.

    Hale, Wright and Yackey were 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 creating a public nuisance and false imprisonment.

    On Dec. 14, they pleaded not guilty to the criminal charges.