Aarian Marshall is a transportation reporter at WIRED and former CityLab contributor. She lives in San Francisco.
A tale of love and consequences in Houston, Texas.
Love is madness and love is blind, but love might also really screw up traffic patterns in Houston if you are dumb and shut down the I-45 to propose to your girlfriend.
That’s exactly what happened on December 13, when Vidal Valladares and his friends halted cars on the busy freeway so he could get down on one knee in front of Michelle Wycoff and ask her to marry him.
Now, the Harris County District Attorney's Office has charged Valladares with obstruction of a roadway, a Class B misdemeanor that could result in up to six months of jail time and a $2,000 fine. The amorous expressway enthusiast turned himself in to the authorities on Wednesday and posted a $500 bond.
Valladares posted the fairytale proposal on Instagram, where it almost immediately went viral and drew the ire of thinking people everywhere:
Just saw someone post a dangerous marriage proposal, in where he and his friends dangerously stop ALL traffic on I-45, they could have hurt many others.
There is also video, in case you enjoy the cacophony created by hundreds of horrified Houston drivers:
The Houston Chronicle reports that the groom-to-be chose the unusual setting because it’s “one of Wycoff’s favorite spots since Valladares took her on a motorcycle ride on the freeway on their second date.”
“I never really thought about causing an accident. I thought about my girlfriend," Valladares told the paper.
Maybe it goes without saying, but this is very dangerous stuff, and not only for the dopey lovers and their band of merry friends/idiots. Emergency vehicles could have been stuck in the ensuing jam, in addition to workers on their way to on-the-clock jobs. And yet, perhaps the country could do with a little more enthusiasm for transit issues, albeit of the legal variety.
The wedding is in March.