A San Bernardino County couple charged with intentionally causing car crashes and then posting videos of them on YouTube was sentenced on Tuesday after pleading no contest.
Christopher Phelps, 40, and his wife, Kimberly Phelps, 40, both from Yucaipa, were arrested in March and accused of causing crashes in an attempt to collect fraudulent insurance payouts, officials said.
Christopher was sentenced to three years in state prison and Kimberly was sentenced to 90 days in weekend county jail/work release, three years of supervised probation, and a 52-week child abuse prevention program.
Authorities began investigating the couple after the discovery of a YouTube channel called “BLU3 GHO57” where dashcam videos involving Christopher were posted, according to the California Department of Insurance.
The channel had around 162 videos of “vehicle collisions, attempted or near collisions, road rage incidents, and other content involving the couple,” officials said.
In several incidents, the couple’s child was also present in the vehicle, according to arrest documents.
“This couple put innocent lives including their own child’s at risk by intentionally causing collisions to receive insurance money,” said Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara.
Investigators discovered around 23 collisions documented on the channel were linked to 17 insurance claims filed by Christopher. 42 other videos were related to road rage incidents and attempted collisions involving Christopher.
“The reckless and fraudulent behavior of the co-defendants posed a danger to society while risking the safety of their own child,” said San Bernardino County District Attorney Jason Anderson. “Our office is confident that in addition to defendant Phelps’s prison term and ordered restitution to all victims, public safety in San Bernardino County will be greatly increased by his lifetime revocation of driving privileges.”
Prior to the March arrest, Christopher was arrested for his alleged involvement in one suspicious collision. A video posted on his YouTube channel showed Christopher “appearing to stop for no apparent reason and causing a truck pulling a trailer to rear-end his vehicle,” authorities said.
The video was a rear-facing dashcam that showed the tense moments leading up to the crash.