Vehicular destruction is a popular YouTube trend. YouTubers destroy perfectly good vehicles to rake in millions of views and plenty of cash. One infamous YouTuber is facing charges of 18 criminal counts after allegedly destroying the environment while filming his videos.
Street Speed 717 is a popular carnage channel similar to that of WhistlinDiesel. The channel is run by Michael Hyssong and you’ll find plenty of street racing, questionable car modifications and a surprising amount of vehicular destruction on his account. These shenanigans popped up on the radar of Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission and it brought 18 criminal charges against Hyssong for the actions depicted in his videos:
Hyssong is surprised to get the charges, given that he says that he’s done illegal things on his channel for years without trouble. What a defense.
The list of charges is quite lengthy: Hyssong is charged with two counts of Disturbance of Waterways and Watersheds, four counts of Misuse of Property and Waters, six counts of Littering Near Waters and six counts of Pollution of Waters. For those counting, that’s four second-degree summary offenses, six first-degree summary offenses and eight third-degree misdemeanor charges. Hyssong says that these counts would punish him on the same level of a drunk driver.
Hyssong seems to think that PFBC is targeting him over his Ram 1500 TRX jump video. However, the channel is full of other videos of him seemingly doing what PFBC alleges that he did. For example, the Misuse of Property and Waters charge defines what an illegal stream crossing looks like:
(6) Run any vehicle, except fording in the most direct manner, in any stream.
Multiple videos as recent as late January show the YouTuber driving through the stream in the broken TRX in a way that sure seems improper:
Hyssong does admit that PFBC physically went out to the allegedly damaged stream and determined that there was enough evidence for the charges. But he believes the land owners should get PFBC’s ire, not him.
As if this story wasn’t crazy enough, he drops this odd statement, from the video:
I pay literally hundreds of thousands of dollars in taxes. [...] I don’t even want free stuff, I just want to be left alone and the government can’t help itself but to, like: ‘Here’s a guy having fun making a living, you know, living his dream, let’s try to ruin that as best we can. [...] We’ve got to ruin it, we have to.’ Still, like, it’s pretty crazy and I think they are really like, you know, trying to throw the book at me. I don’t know if it’s because it’s easy; you know, it’s on video. Or to make an example because it’s a video that got 1.6 million views.
Look, you can’t really argue that the government is out to get you when you break the law, brag about it and post it online for all to see. Anyone surprised that there are two ‘Blue Lives Matter’ flags in his garage? He makes a point in some videos to support law enforcement, but he doesn’t like it when he has to face the law for his own actions. Hyssong apparently thinks officials holding him responsible for his criminal behavior have some sort of personal vendetta, but why else do you proudly pay all those taxes except to maintain civil servants who protect all of our natural resources from people like, well Hyssong?
Let this story be a warning. If you want to do something that could result in fines or worse, perhaps it’s best to keep that off of the internet.