YouTuber Trevor Jacob Sentenced to 6 Months in Prison for Staging Plane Crash for Views

Trevor Jacob, a 30-year-old YouTuber pilot

Trevor Jacob, a 30-year-old YouTuber and pilot, has been sentenced to six months in federal prison for intentionally crashing his plane to increase views on a sponsored video, according to a recent announcement by the US Attorney’s Office. Jacob, who earlier this year admitted guilt to charges including the deliberate crashing of the aircraft, destruction of evidence, and lying to federal authorities, received a sentence significantly lower than the potential 20-year maximum due to his acceptance of a plea agreement.

Jacob, described as an experienced pilot, skydiver, and former Olympic athlete, devised the plane crash scheme following a sponsorship agreement for a video promoting a wallet. For the production of the video, he equipped the aircraft with multiple cameras, wore a parachute, and carried a video camera and selfie stick. About 35 minutes into the flight from a California airport, Jacob feigned an engine failure and parachuted out, later hiking back to the crash site to retrieve the footage. The video, titled “I Crashed My Airplane,” has since garnered over 4.4 million views on YouTube, where it has been met with criticism from viewers for its recklessness and disrespect towards actual aviation emergencies.

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) became involved when Jacob reported the crash, initially agreeing to disclose the crash location. However, he later misled investigators about the wreckage’s whereabouts, returning to the site to destroy and dispose of the plane’s remains in various trash cans. These actions were aimed at impeding federal investigations and profiting from the video.

In their investigation, federal authorities discovered that Jacob had misrepresented the crash’s cause, falsely claiming a complete power loss after takeoff and asserting he had no safe landing options. In reality, he had intentionally abandoned a functioning aircraft, directing it towards a dry area in Los Padres National Forest.

Prosecutors in their sentencing memo highlighted Jacob’s poor judgment, suggesting his actions were driven by a desire for social media attention and financial gain. They stressed the inadmissibility of such “daredevil” behavior. Jacob is required to report to the Bureau of Prisons by January 29, 2024, and will be subject to two years of supervised release following his prison term.

Defense attorneys, in a sentencing memo, portrayed Jacob as regretful of his actions, which were claimed to be the result of isolation during the COVID-19 lockdown and his lifelong pursuit of extreme sports. They argued that these sports often involve solitary challenges, leading to a series of poor decisions culminating in the offense. The defense posited that Jacob’s history of misdemeanors related to train hopping and lack of serious criminal record made a prison term unnecessary, suggesting instead a year of probation.

However, US District Judge John F. Walter decided on a six-month prison sentence in a minimum-security facility, followed by two years of probation, diverging from the defense’s recommendation.

Author: CrimeDoor

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