LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Pop star Justin Bieber was pulled over for speeding down a Los Angeles freeway in his flashy but environmentally friendly sports car on Friday, and police said they were investigating reports that he was being chased by paparazzi photographers.
The 18-year-old singer was driving his chrome-bodied Fisker Karma, a luxury hybrid-electric roadster, west of downtown Los Angeles, when he was stopped by California Highway Patrol officers at about 10:45 a.m. pdt (1:45 p.m. edt/6:45 p.m. British time).
The Canadian-born performer told officers he was being chased on the freeway by paparazzi, but a second car that police saw pursuing the performer’s automobile at high speed got away without being stopped, a Highway Patrol spokesmen said.
Bieber, whom police described as polite and cooperative when pulled over, was issued a traffic ticket for speeding and was released, CHP spokesman Saul Gomez said. He added that Bieber was cited for driving 80 miles per hour (129 km per hour) in a 65 mph (105 kph) zone.
But a Los Angeles city councilman who happened to be driving on that portion of the freeway at the time said the Fisker Karma that roared past him was doing at least 100 mph (160 kph) while darting aggressively from one lane to another, with a pack of five or six other cars in hot pursuit.
“He was driving in a careless, reckless fashion,” Councilman Dennis Zine told Reuters.
“Just because he’s a celebrity doesn’t mean he can endanger life and property,” said Zine, a 40-year veteran of the Los Angeles Police Department who is still registered as an LAPD reserve officer.
Neither Bieber’s manager, Scooter Braun, nor his record label publicist, Melissa Victor, was immediately available for comment. But Braun was quoted by celebrity news website TMZ as calling Zine “a councilman looking for a headline.”
Zine bristled at the comment, saying the CHP had received 911 calls from about 10 other motorists reporting the speeding freeway cars. “Their client needs to mature,” Zine said.
Highway Patrol spokesman Gomez said police were still investigating the incident. “We’re trying to obtain information with regard to the paparazzi so we can look into other violations that occurred as a result of their actions,” he said.
Bieber, who has professed a determination to maintain a squeaky-clean image, has had run-ins with the paparazzi before.
In May the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department was investigating a complaint that the cherubic-faced vocalist had roughed up a man - identified by TMZ as a celebrity photographer - who was taking pictures of him at a suburban shopping centre.
Editing by Mohammad Zargham