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Man who caused I-15 gridlock ordered to pay $8K

A San Diego man whose prank phone call shut down Interstate 15 for three hours on Thanksgiving Day was ordered by a judge Monday to pay more than $8,000 in restitution to local public safety agencies and sentenced to nine days in custody.

On Thanksgiving Day 2013, Victor Manuel Diaz called his younger sister twice as she was driving on Interstate 15, heading to a family gathering in Escondido. Disguising his voice, Diaz said there was a bomb in her car and it was about to explode.

Diaz's sister pulled over to the center divider on northbound I-15, near Miramar Way and called 911. Police determined there was no bomb in the vehicle, and Diaz was arrested for the bomb hoax.

Diaz, who was on probation for a domestic violence conviction, also was sentenced to 20 days of public work service and had his term of probation extended two additional years to March 2016.

“Bomb threats are no joke and, in fact, violate the law," San Diego City Attorney Jan Goldsmith said. "Thankfully, this time no one was hurt, although thousands of people spent hours on Thanksgiving gridlocked on the freeway and police and firefighters were diverted from legitimate emergencies.

"Our prosecutors achieved a terrific outcome, both holding Diaz accountable and requiring him to pay back more than $8,000 to first responders for the costs of dealing with this hoax.”

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