The driver whose reckless behavior caused a bomb scare in Hollywood Thursday is a serial criminal who was let out of jail just days ago.
Pharaoh Gillis, 31, has been in and out of county lockup four times in the last three months, Los Angeles Police Department said. He is currently being held on $20,000 bail.
His dangerous antics led to much of the area around Hollywood Boulevard and Highland Avenue near the Oscars venue being restricted Thursday afternoon as police investigated a possible bomb threat involving a car, snarling traffic into the evening commute.
Bomb squad officers determined there was no threat just after 4 p.m. and streets were reopened soon after, according to LAPD.
Street closures included about three blocks around the intersection, according to Lt. Michael Ling with LAPD’s Hollywood Division.
Around 11 a.m., initial reports indicated there was a call about a possibly intoxicated man in a car who may have been carrying a propane tank. The man was taken into custody and some fuel spilled onto the street, according to Officer Drake Madison of LAPD’s media relations section.
David Oakes captured the man making donuts on the street on video, and he could not believe his eyes when Gillis left the car.
"I see him coming around the corner on foot with a propane tank in his hand crossing the street and that's when I got a little concerned, Oakes said, "When the cops finally arrived that's when he took off running and just dropped the tank down."
Gillis apparently warned he left an explosive in his trunk back at Highland Avenue and Yucca Street, and for hours streets were blocked until the bomb squad determined it was nothing, with officers using a water cannon to open the trunk just before 4 p.m.
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Traffic was backed up around the busy intersection and motorists and residents were asked to avoid the area.
The incident is just a short distance from the Dolby Theatre, which will host the Academy Awards Sunday night.
Police said the incident would not affect their preperations for the Oscars.