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Pa. YouTuber in hot water for driving truck through stream

Michael Hyssong, 30, has 1.4 million subscribers to his automobile YouTube channel.

The same model Dodge Ram TRX in which Michael Hyssong, the Harrisburg man behind the YouTube channel Street Speed 717, performs stunts.
The same model Dodge Ram TRX in which Michael Hyssong, the Harrisburg man behind the YouTube channel Street Speed 717, performs stunts.Read moreMark Phelan, Detroit Free Press

Dumb, dangerous, and possibly illegal are a surefire combination for clicks on social media, and so far, the video of a new, $70,000-plus pickup truck jumping a York County creek and landing hard on the other side has 1.7 million views.

But for Michael Hyssong, the Harrisburg man behind the YouTube channel Street Speed 717, a more subtle video of him driving the Dodge Ram TRX in the creek has had a few key viewers, notably an anonymous tipster, the Pennsylvania Fish & Boat Commission, and the York County District Attorney’s Office.

Now Hyssong is facing 18 criminal counts, all misdemeanors including disturbance of waterways and watersheds, misuse of property and waters, and littering and pollution of waters. He was charged on Feb. 26, after investigators visited the creek, which runs through private property in Warrington Township, York County.

In the January video, titled “NEW RAM TRX On 4 Feet Tall Mud Boggers SHREDS EVERYTHING!!! *702HP THROWS MUD 100FT!*,” Hyssong drives the truck into a small creek known as Doe Run on what appears to be farmland while others watch and comment. The truck’s massive, aftermarket tires create waves and wakes in the small creek, churning the water into a milky brown color.

“This thing is absolutely unstoppable,” Hyssong says in the video.

According to the affidavit of probable cause, the Pennsylvania Game Commission received an anonymous tip about a truck driving through a creek on Jan. 19 and the tip, because it dealt with waterways, was forwarded to the fish and boat commission. License plates visible in the video enabled investigators to track down the location. On Jan. 24, investigators went to look at the creek, which is a tributary of larger creeks in the region, and noticed damage.

“The stream banks were torn up by tire tracks and a ramp was built right alongside the creek,” investigators wrote in the affidavit.

Neither Hyssong nor his attorney returned immediate requests for comment Wednesday, but in subsequent YouTube videos, including one from March 12 titled, “My TRX Jump Video Got Me CRIMINALLY CHARGED WITH 18 COUNTS BY THE STATE... *YES REALLY*,” Hyssong speaks at length about the charges.

“It’s insane the fact that I’m in as much legal trouble for this as if I drove drunk, but that’s Pennsylvania,” he said. “It’s unreal.”

Hyssoing said that the stream is “not a habitat” and that he’s never seen fish or turtles in it.

“The people who wrote this must really hate me,” he said of the charges.

It’s unclear what Hyssong does for a living, but in the video he said he pays “hundreds of thousands of dollars in taxes.” In videos filmed in his garage, numerous high-performance cars are seen parked inside and out. While the Dodge Ram TRX starts at $71,900, Hyssong said his specific truck was worth $93,000. At the end of one video, he lights it on fire.

His channel has 1.4 million subscribers.

“There’s always a risk with what I do with my channel because some things are not exactly legal,” he said. “I never thought that would be the thing that gets me.”

According to court records, Hyssong’s preliminary hearing is scheduled for April 19. The fish and boat commission and York County DA’s Office declined to comment.