On Friday, the Suburban Legends official site news was updated by Brian Robertson announcing the preliminary hearing for Youn Bum Lee, 41, a former Hyundai executive. Lee is being charged with the hit-and-run death of Ryan Dallas Cook, one of the beloved trombone players in Suburban Legends.
SL fans and fans of justice are encouraged to attend the hearing on May 26th around 8:30 am at the Superior Court of California on 700 Civic Center Dr, Santa Ana, CA 92701. Please dress appropriately.
This hearing is to determine if there is sufficient evidence to take the case to trial or the judge could present a deal to Lee. Family, friends, and fans are trying to encourage the judge to set a trial date, rather than present a deal.
Just after midnight on October 19, 2005, Cook was returning home on his motorcycle from a practice session with Suburban Legends. Lee, after an evening of heavy drinking at a Hyundai event, is believed to have passed out while driving his black Hyundai Santa Fe and parked his car in the carpool lane of the Southbound I-55 freeway, without the headlights on.
Due to the combination of the late hour, the dark color of the car, and witness reports that Lee has not turned on the vehicles lights, it is believed that Cook never saw the Lee’s vehicle as his motorcycle slammed into it, being thrown from his motorcycle into oncoming traffic and being struck multiple times by oncoming cars. Cook is believed to have died instantly from the initial impact. The other members of Suburban Legends, also returning from their practice session, were among the first at the scene.
Lee reportedly fled the scene of the accident and, according to police reports, was encouraged by other Hyundai employees to turn himself in, but instead decided to flee the country to his native South Korea. In 2007, Lee was officially charged with “gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated, driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs with injury, and hit-and-run with injury or death”. It wasn’t until January 2009 that Lee was extradited back to the United States to face these charges. Lee faces up to 15 years in prison if convicted of all charges.
In addition the the charges, Cook’s family has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Lee, Hyundai Motor America, Hyundai Motor Finance Company, and several executives who they believe aided Lee to flee the country in order to avoid prosecution. According to the NBC article, the wrongful death case is set for trial on June 1st.