Who changed the message on an official digital freeway sign from a mundane traffic warning to a campaign booster of Donald Trump?

Image from video showing I-15 Caltrans sign on Dec. 25. Photo via Facebook
Social media got plenty of mileage Monday over an I-15 digital sign prank endorsing Trump, but the woman in charge of the $1.4 billion freeway project sponsor wasn’t amused.

“This isn’t funny,” said Anne Mayer, executive director of the Riverside County Transportation Commission.

She said a portable electric sign on I-15 at Ontario Avenue that was changed to say “Inland Empire supports Donald Trump. Merry Xmas. Vote Donald Trump” wasn’t the work of Caltrans or the 91 Project contractor operating the sign — Atkinson Walsh Joint Ventures.

A Facebook video of the sign neared 500,000 views Monday. It was posted by Nikki Worden of Corona, who with her husband was returning home from the movies Friday night when they saw the sign.

They doubled back and shot video as proof.

Driving N/B 15 fwy in Corona look what we saw had to turn around and record this !!!! ??

Posted by Nikki Miles Worden on Friday, December 25, 2015

What happened?

Mayer said someone had a pass code to the portable sign, giving them the ability to retype a construction alert. It was not changed remotely, she said.

“It was Christmas night,” she said. “All the crews were off. Those signs are out there not only for the traveling public but also for the safety of construction workers. So this is a serious public-safety issue — regardless of the political message on the sign.”

The reason she doesn’t suspect an off-duty construction worker is because this is where they work, and “someone is not going to place their own lives or co-workers’ lives at risk in order to pull a prank.”

She said the best guess is that the sign cycled through the Trump message for about 12 hours, ending when crews restored the message to an I-15 road closure alert Saturday morning.

Mayer says she’s had about eight media calls — mostly local, but one from Sacramento.

“We impact hundreds of thousands of drivers a day,” she told MyNewsLA.com in a phone interview. “The most frustrating thing for me is a public-safety sign was hijacked for a prank. So they hijacked public safety. In my book, that’s wrong.”

She said steps would be taken to “make sure someone can’t do this again. We’ll work on different ways to make sure that happens.”

Mayer said it was the first time a message had been changed on her agency’s watch — but had heard of it happening elsewhere.

Atkinson Walsh Joint Ventures didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

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