"Causing collisions to occur puts lives in danger. Thankfully investigators identified the crimes and the individuals responsible. This was not only a case of insurance fraud, it was a reckless disregard for the safety of others." - CSLEA President Alan Barcelona
SAN BERNARDINO— On May 24, 2023 the California Department of Insurance announced that Christopher Phelps, 40, of Yucaipa, and his wife, Kimberly Phelps, 40, were sentenced after pleading no contest to felony counts of insurance fraud, child abuse and assault with a deadly weapon. This comes after a Department of Insurance investigation revealed the couple caused collisions in an attempt to collect undeserved insurance payouts.
Christopher Phelps was sentenced to three years in state prison and is currently in the custody of the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department. His driver’s license was immediately revoked because of the assault with a deadly weapon charge. Kimberly Phelps was sentenced to 90 days in weekend county jail/work release, three years of supervised probation, and to attend a 52-week child abuse prevention program. She is currently out on bail. The couple is scheduled to return to court on July 7, 2023, for a restitution hearing.
“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. “Our insurance investigators are committed to doing everything in their power to keep California drivers safe. Thanks to the hard work of our investigators and the prosecutors at the San Bernardino County District Attorney’s Office these bad drivers are off the road and their victims will get the justice they deserve.”
Department detectives arrested the couple March 22, 2023, in San Bernardino. The Department’s investigation began after the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department became aware of a YouTube channel where dashcam videos of traffic collisions and road rage incidents were posted. The investigation connected the channel to Christopher Phelps under the name “BLU3 GHO57.” The channel had approximately 162 dashcam videos of vehicle collisions, attempted or near collisions, road rage incidents, and other content involving the couple. In multiple incidents Christopher Phelps’ child is also in the vehicle.
The investigation discovered approximately 23 collisions documented on the channel which were linked to 17 insurance claims filed by Christopher Phelps and 42 videos related to road rage incidents and attempted collisions involving him. Several of the videos appeared to be intentional acts. The Department’s investigation included numerous search warrants, collecting and reviewing hours of videos, and attempting to locate additional victims through videos posted to Department social media accounts.
Prior to the arrest in March, the Department was contacted by the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department after Christopher Phelps was involved in a suspicious collision, appearing to stop for no apparent reason and causing a truck pulling a trailer to rear-end his vehicle. Shortly after the collision, he posted to YouTube a rear-facing dashcam video of the moments leading up to the collision. Department detectives responded to the area of the collision in Yucaipa and canvased the area for surveillance video and witnesses, which led to an earlier arrest.
The San Bernardino County District Attorney’s Office prosecuted this case.