What a story. Two high-ranking city traffic engineers, Gabriel Murillo and Kartik Patel, were charged Friday with breaking into the city's automated traffic system and disabling the lights at four busy intersections just before the city Engineers and Architects Association walked out last August. On the eve of the strike, EAA head Robert Aquino told reporters that "Los Angeles is not going to be a fun place to drive." Aquino, however, was not charged by District Attorney Steve Cooley, who said Friday "this amounts to sabotage and [should] not be tolerated no matter what the dispute or cause."
It took city engineers four days to restore traffic lights at Sky Way at World Way near LAX, Coldwater at Riverside in Studio City, Glendale Boulevard at Berkeley in Echo Park and at 1st and Alameda downtown. Prosecutors say the defendants changed computer codes to prevent reactivation of the traffic lights. No accidents were reported, which may be lucky for them. Murillo and Patel are expected to surrender for felony arraignment on Monday.