In the fast-paced race for views, subscribers and likes, YouTube personalities are pushing the line on what is safe and appropriate versus what will get them clicks. For Street Speed 717, his latest stunt, a Ram TRX jump, could lead to a lot of legal trouble.
If you missed the news, Street Speed 717, aka Mike Hyssong, bought himself a new TRX and promptly made some videos of the truck. A pretty normal thing to do with any sort of high-performance toy like the TRX.
Things were going well, until he decided to jump a sizable creek bed with his truck. Now, full disclosure, we have done similar jumps with that truck — both with the folks at Ram on a closed course as well as on our own. Because, well, the truck is designed to jump. However, it is designed for a desert-racing kind of jumping.
His jump, straight out of a Dukes of Hazzard episode, crossed the creek and the truck landed harshly causing damage to it. Then, well, he eventually went down a rabbit hole on things he could do with the truck including starting it on fire.
The Pennsylvania Water and Boats commission decided they had seen enough and filed criminal charges.
According to theDrive.com, “his charges include various violations of specific verbiage within Title 30, including two counts of Disturbance of Waterways and Watersheds, six counts of Pollution of Waters, six counts of Littering, and four counts of Misuse of Property and Waters. This equates to eight third-degree misdemeanor charges, four second-degree summary offenses, and six first-degree summary offenses. It’s unknown what these charges will entail; however, other individuals who were previously convicted under these laws have been ordered to pay civil damages, resulting in restitution to the Commonwealth for damage to fish, commercial resale value, the replacement cost of fish based on the angling value, and more.”
Hyssong’s response video
What do you do when faced with criminal charges? Well, if you are a YouTuber, you make a video. I guess.
In his response video, he makes several rather ridiculous statements his lawyers will have to find ways around in court.
“I pay literally hundreds of thousands of dollars in taxes, and I don’t even want free stuff. I just want to be left alone, and the government just can’t help itself,” Hyssong said after explaining the charges in the video. “I think they are really like trying to throw the book at me. I don’t know if it’s because it’s easy, it’s on video, or to make an example because it’s a video that got 1.6 million views.”
Interestingly, Hyssong pinned a supportive comment made by WhistlinDiesel, aka Cody Detwiler, to the top of the comments list below the video. You may recall Detwiler’s antics of driving an eight-wheeled Chevy Silverado Monster Truck into the Gulf of Mexico from November, 2020.
Why would he do that? For the views.
The diesel truck was surrounded by the Coast Guard, sheriff’s department and the Department of Natural Resources.
What will stop these stunts?
While sensible people see these stunts as merely stunts from young kids, the far greater reality is that they are dangerous. YouTube and social media is a game of one upmanship, and it rewards those who take things to the next level.
This is where things can get dangerous. A few years ago, a YouTuber died after his girlfriend fired a handgun at him while he held a thick encyclopedia. He thought the book was thick enough to stop the bullet and died while the couple’s 3-year-old daughter and 30 onlookers watched the fatal stunt.
The bottom line
Am I saying one of these guys could die? Yeah, that’s a real possibility. When we do track events, it is closely watched for safety, we wear helmets, Hans Devices and take safety precautions. When you jump a truck across a creek without safety gear, you are putting yourself AND others who want to emulate you in danger. There is a real responsibility for YouTube creators to think about how their actions impact their audience.
It is also a responsibility of YouTube to take a more aggressive stance towards these kinds of videos. With past instances of YouTube stars like Logan Paul making jokes after finding a dead body at a Japanese forest famous for suicides (his channel was taken down by YouTube for a while) still fresh in people’s minds, videos by Hyssong and Detwiler need some extra scrutiny. Not doing so could lead to disastrous effects.