Indicted road rage driver arrested for stopping traffic under ‘Be Someone’ bridge
The driver alleged to have shot at three egg-throwing teens before a deadly New Year’s Day wreck has been arrested a second time this week for a traffic-stopping stunt under Houston’s iconic “Be Someone” bridge.
Christopher Lopez, 48, turned himself in overnight on a single count of obstructing a highway before he was slated to appear in court Friday morning on charges stemming from the north Houston crash.
He has since posted bond on the latest charge, court records show.
His vehicle — the same 1971 Lincoln Continental he used to allegedly chase a 14-year-old driver — was featured in a photoshoot along Interstate 45 at Interstate 10, according to court records. He and about a dozen other polished rides, known in Houston as slabs, participated in the Dec. 2 incident.
Records obtained by the Houston Chronicle allege that his Lonestar Slab club posed their custom cars under the graffiti-covered landmark for more than 10 minutes, bringing traffic near the busy interchange to a halt.
Video of the tour de force garnered more than 19,000 views on a social media account associated with the club, which Lopez co-founded in June 2018, according to Harris County records.
Annoyed motorists, some of whom were unable to squeeze by their shoot, honked their horns in protest, video shows. A handful of the trapped drivers dialed 911 to report the traffic block around 1:23 p.m. that Sunday, according to law enforcement sources.
“Apparently a bunch of cars keep stopping to take selfies somewhere for something,” a dispatcher said, according to police radio traffic of the incident.
An officer got on the radio and said the cars near the Milam exit had “large spokes coming out of the wheels.”
“They’re putting on a car show that has stopped traffic to take pictures on the freeway,” the officer continued.
A Houston Police Department investigator used video clips from Instagram users Kandy_Red_Bread and EspinoHTX to identify the drivers by their license plates, according to the records.
“Sorry About The Traffic We Just Had A Little Complication But We All Good Now,” a caption for Kandy_Red_Bread’s video read. The account went private Thursday morning.
A purple pickup truck with cone-shaped metal rims, and #EspinoHTX spray painted on the side, was pictured in the incident. The message “You mad?” was spray painted onto the back of the truck for stuck drivers to read.
Lopez and four other drivers were charged with obstructing a highway leading up to Lopez’s court appearance, law enforcement sources said.
Other arrests are expected, the sources said.
The Lonestar Slab members met up along a grassy field at Fulton and Burnett, according to a series of clips titled “I-45 Shutdown” on Instagram. Some of the footage was recorded from inside Lopez’s vehicle. The group soon lined up single-file around 12:30 p.m. at Love’s Gas Station in the 200 block of Patton., court papers show. The convoy, with Lopez’s Continental in the back, drove an estimated 3 miles to the Union Pacific Railroad train overpass, which was first emblazoned with the “Be Someone” message in 2012.
Lopez and “the rest of the car club ‘Lonestar Slabs’ put many lives at risk for serious bodily injury and could have caused serious bodily harm or death to the public,” according to investigators.
The group was planning another traffic stop on Jan. 20 to celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. Day, sources said.
The incident has landed Lopez’s Lincoln Continental into another criminal investigation after a vehicle with the same license plates was allegedly involved in the Jan. 1 road rage incident that led to the death of 45-year-old Silvia Zavala.
A trio of teens chucking eggs from a GMC Acadia took aim at Lopez’s vintage car and he reacted by chasing after their 14-year-old driver and firing at them with a semi-automatic pistol, according to authorities. The teens ran a red light and hit Zavala as she entered Aldine Mail Route at Aldine Westfield. She died at the scene.
Lopez was indicted on a manslaughter charge Monday and surrendered to police that night. He was released after posting a $60,000 bond Tuesday morning.