Mental Stability A Looming Factor In Phelpses’ Staged Accident Insurance Scams Trial

The mental stability of a Yucaipa couple who engaged in a series of staged accidents which netted them several hundred thousand dollars in insurance payouts appears to be in question as they wend their way through the justice system.
Christopher Allen Phelps, 40, and his wife, Kimberly Phelps, also 40, were arrested on March 22.
Christopher was charged at that point with six felony counts of assault with a deadly weapon, 11 felony counts of insurance fraud, and five felony counts of child endangerment with the potential for great bodily injury, which were added to one felony count of assault with a deadly weapon and one felony count of causing a vehicle collision for the purpose of presenting a false claim filed against him in February.
Kimberly was charged with two counts of felony child endangerment with the potential for great bodily injury and one count of felony insurance fraud.According to investigators, the couple have a pattern, extending back several years, of staging traffic accidents and thereafter engaging in insurance fraud to reap a substantial profit. A perhaps apocryphal report is that such insurance scams represent the Phelps’ primary income going back to 2018.
In February, the sheriff’s department was summoned to the scene of a traffic collision in which Christopher Phelps was involved. According to the driver of a truck pulling a trailer, Phelps abruptly and for no apparent reason stopped, causing the truck to slam into the back of Phelps’ vehicle. Detectives with the sheriff’s department, which serves as the police department in Yucaipa, canvassed the area, locating witnesses and sought video of the accident. Phelps was arrested and charged with one felony count of assault with a deadly weapon and one felony of causing a crash to present a false claim.
He posted bail and was quickly released.
Shortly thereafter, Christopher Phelps posted footage of the several seconds just prior to the crash on a YouTube channel slugged “BLU3 GHO57.″
Investigators following up on the February incident soon learned of a number of collisions and “accidents” Phelps and his wife were involved in.
As the investigation proceeded, detectives came upon the BLU3 GHO57 YouTube channel, which offered a catalog of 162 dashcam videos of crashes and road rage incidents. Upon further examination, it was determined that BLU3 GHO57 videos featured at least 23 collisions which involved Christopher Phelps at the wheel and two involving Kimberly Phelps. In addition, 42 other videos captured road rage incidents and near or attempted collisions involving Christopher Phelps.
The sheriff’s department notified the California Department of Insurance, which in short order documented that of the 23 collisions Christopher Phelps had been involved in, he had filed insurance claims on 17 of those.
According to investigators, Christopher Phelps, in virtually every one of the collisions or near collisions captured on the 65 captured videos in which he was operating the vehicle in question, was deliberately attempting to cause a collision.
While Christopher Phelps was not nominatively linked to BLU3 GHO57, investigators learned easily through a technical analysis that he and his wife were responsible for mounting the videos to the YouTube website.
It was further determined that in several incidents, including ones in which a collision occurred and others where the driver of the targeted vehicle managed to avoid a crash, the couple’s child was present in the vehicle, according to investigators.
Kimberly Phelps was the driver in some of the staged accidents and she was involved in the placement of the videos on YouTube.
While the criminal intent demonstrated in the filing of the fraudulent insurance claims is clear, the posting of the videos exposing the couple’s efforts to cause the accidents is inexplicable.
The danger they were willing to put themselves, their own child and their attempted or actual victims in, combined with the nonsensical posting of the evidence to the Worldwide Web, which allowed for investigators to ascertain not only indication but proof of their crimes has raised questions about their sanity and general mental state.
Christopher Phelps remains jailed at the High Desert Detention Center in Adelanto in lieu of $500,000 bail.
Kimberly Phelps remains jailed at the West Valley Detention Center in Rancho Cucamonga in lieu of $170,000 bail.
-Mark Gutglueck

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