A man who was arrested after performing a daring motorcycle proposal in stopped traffic on a Southern California freeway said he didn’t plan the proposal that way but seized the moment, and he doesn’t regret it.
The groom-to-be, 24-year-old Hector Martinez of the Covina area in California, was arrested Tuesday on three misdemeanor charges relating to his Jan. 27 wedding proposal. Video of the stunt raced across the Internet after it was posted on YouTube.
The video, shot by Martinez’s family members from a nearby overpass, shows an estimated 250 bikers riding on Interstate 10. The video shows the bikers slowing down near an exit, then coming to a complete halt on the freeway, blocking all lanes and forcing traffic to stop.
Biker Martinez urged his girlfriend, Paige Hernandez, off the back of his bike, then started spinning the back wheel of the bike, producing a thick cloud of pink smoke. He then got down on one knee and proposed. While that was happening, some bikers could be seen popping wheelies.
Hernandez accepted the proposal, then the group quickly left the highway and went to a restaurant off the freeway’s exit. The entire proceedings lasted about two minutes.
The video had been viewed more than 1.7 million times as of Wednesday, and the reaction was mixed. Some viewers praised Martinez’s courage and originality, while others said stopping traffic on a freeway could have resulted in an accident.
Police called it a spectacle.
“It’s a slap in the face of law enforcement, in general,” Sgt. Kurt Stormes of the California Highway Patrol said of the incident, according to The Associated Press.
No one was harmed, but in an interview with ABCNews.com, Martinez said he understood why police and others took a dim view of what he did.
“I know with everybody watching it, everybody has their own opinion and I respect that, and there are people out there that aren’t happy with it and I respect that. You know, I kind of just did it,” he said, acknowledging that he didn’t think it through well.
Martinez said he and Hernandez were participating in a charity ride that others had planned, and he had intended to propose that day at the restaurant where the group was headed. Other bikers decided to stop on the highway, and because his family was already at the overpass near the restaurant waiting to film the proposal he’d originally planned, Martinez said he seized the moment.
“I first thought, ‘Man, the freeway is not really too romantic,’ but it ended up being a hit,” he said.
Martinez faces misdemeanor public nuisance and participating in an unlawful assembly charges, authorities said Tuesday, the AP reported. Three of his friends were also arrested.
The couple’s families were initially not happy about the freeway proposal, Martinez said.
“They said it was a knucklehead move, but at the end of the day, they loved it and they’re glad nobody got hurt … and they’re glad that I learned my lesson. So at the end of the day, I’ve got a lot of love for everybody,” he said.
“I don’t regret doing it.”
Hernandez said she had no clue the proposal was coming.
“I was just more shocked, you know, that we were in the middle of the freeway, so I think that’s what threw me off even more. I was like, ‘Oh, my God, this guy is crazy,’” she said.
The two, who both work in the social work field, haven’t set a wedding date but Hernandez said she hopes it will be next summer.