A man who tore up the streets of San Diego in a souped-up, off-road Volkswagen in a viral video seen by more than a million people pleaded guilty to several charges Monday, including reckless driving.
Blake Wilkey, 27, who was originally charged with 26 counts, pleaded guilty to four misdemeanor charges of reckless driving, one count of exhibition speed and one count of failing to obtain a special event permit.
He was sentenced to 45 days in jail and placed on three years probation.
Wilkey was the smiling driver in the video called “Urban Assault: San Diego Shark Attack,” which was posted on YouTube in January and has since racked up 1,197,713 views.
In the 4½-minute video, Wilkey is seen speeding through various San Diego neighborhoods including downtown and Ocean Beach, driving up embankments and over curbs, onto public and private property alike as the Baja bug kicks up dirt in an engine-revving, tire-squealing display.
Wilkey seemed to be having a pretty good time. But whatever euphoria he might have had seemed to evaporate after he found out he was under investigation by San Diego police.
In a Facebook post on Feb. 1 he said:
“I guess having to much fun on the streets of San Diego can cost you a lot more than you would think after its all said and done. It's not expected its appreciated so don't get it twisted! I hope you all enjoyed the video and use me as example of what not to do.”
Wilkey posted even more somberly last week:
"Monday morning at 8 am downtown I will be facing a judge on 26 misdemeanor accounts for the urban assault video. This was not taken lightly by the prosecutor and I hope it won't be to heavy of a burden on me after its all said and done. If you would like to come show some support and see how it all unfolds let me know! Strength in numbers."
Debbi Baker writes for the San Diego Union Tribune.