Fort Collins's Jake Lloyd, aka Young Darth Vader, Busted After Police Chase

Jake Lloyd, who starred as the young Darth Vader in 1999's Star Wars, Episode I: The Phantom Menace, hasn't acted for years, but he remains one of the most Googled celebrities with Colorado ties.

Last December, we featured Lloyd on this subject and noted that most people searching for him wanted to know if he was related to the actor Christopher Lloyd, of Back to the Future and Taxi fame...or if he was dead.

Now 26, Lloyd is alive, thank you very much — and in big trouble owing to a highway chase in South Carolina that resulted in the mug shot above and some mighty serious charges.

As noted by his IMDB page, Lloyd racked up some impressive credits as a child star

Included among them was a regular role on the TV series ER and featured parts in Unhook the Stars, with Gena Rowlands, and Jingle All the Way, a seasonal flick starring Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Then, in 1999, came Phantom Menace, which both made and essentially destroyed Lloyd's career.

As noted in a 1999 CNN piece, at least one critic branded him "Mannequin Skywalker" for his wooden performance, and while he tried to shrug off the criticism, he found it difficult to land roles afterward. His post-Phantom credits mostly consist of voice work on Star Wars-related video games, and his last screen appearance, in the little-seen Madison, took place back in 2005.

In the years afterward, Lloyd made occasional appearances at Star Wars conventions and events, often looking as if he'd been forced to participate at gunpoint. This 2009 interview, accurately labeled as "very awkward," is a case in point.

Then, in 2012, he gave an interview to the Daily Telegraph in which he painted his Phantom experience in wholly negative terms. 

"Other children were really mean to me," he said. "They would make the sound of the light saber every time they saw me. It was totally mad."

He added that the process of publicizing the film turned "my entire school life" into "a living hell."

Lloyd deployed a witheringly sarcastic tone when touching on these topics in another interview on view here:

These days, Lloyd uses the name "Jake Broadbent," presumably to distance himself from his Phantom past; "Broadbent" is reportedly the last name of his stepfather.

That may explain why the press took several days to catch up to his arrest in South Carolina.

The Press and Standard
, located in Walterboro, South Carolina, reveals that at about 2 p.m. on Wednesday, June 17, deputies with the Charleston County Sheriff's Office saw a vehicle driving erratically, and when they attempted to pull it over, the driver — Lloyd/Broadbent — took off.

A chase ensued, with speeds exceeding 100 miles per hour along the Charleston Highway and other routes before he went four-wheeling. He veered off Interstate 95, crashed through a fence and wound up on a frontage road that dead-ended, forcing him to turn into a wooded area, where he came to a stop after smashing into several small trees.

The bumpy conclusion to his trek presumably accounts for the cut under his eye in his mug shot.

Lloyd/Broadbent was arrested on suspicion of charges that include resisting arrest, reckless driving, driving without a license and failure to stop for a blue light.

As of yesterday, he remained behind bars on a bond totaling $10,700, The Press and Standard reports.

Here's a larger look at his booking photo.

Send your story tips to the author, Michael Roberts.
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Michael Roberts has written for Westword since October 1990, serving stints as music editor and media columnist. He currently covers everything from breaking news and politics to sports and stories that defy categorization.
Contact: Michael Roberts