- Oct 16th 2007 at 9:56AM
Two L.A. traffic engineers charged with sabotage, hacking traffic lights
One way to get what you want when it comes to contentious negotiations with your employer is to throw them into disarray and then go on strike. Or, it could net you a trial, and if you're lucky, a stay in the clink. Gabriel Murillo and Kartik Patel are going to trial on felony charges after they allegedly broke into a computer system and disrupted traffic flow at four of Los Angeles' most busy intersections. The reason for the discombobulation was an impending job action by the Engineers and Architects Association, according to prosecutors. The pair contend that their motive was not sabotage, but protection of the computer system that controls more than three thousand traffic lights. The city of Los Angeles had locked engineers out of the computer system in light of the impending strike, and Murillo's attorney asserts that his client merely took note of the changed settings and modified them back to what they were originally. Whatever the reason behind it, the traffic signal chaos took four days to set straight, although no accidents were attributed to the actions of the two engineers. They don't call it HelLA for nothing.