A California pilot with a daredevil YouTube channel who deliberately crashed his airplane in a 2021 stunt to make a video has agreed to plead guilty to obstructing the investigation into the crash, the Justice Department said Thursday.
The influencer and former Olympic snowboarder, 29-year-old Trevor Jacob, admitted to mounting cameras on the small airplane and equipping himself with a parachute so he could film a solo flight from Lompoc City Airport in Santa Barbara County to Mammoth Lakes, about 400 miles away near Yosemite National Park. Jacob never intended to make it to the location, according to a DOJ statement.
In a 12-minute video called “I Crashed My Airplane” posted to his YouTube channel on Dec. 24, 2021, Jacob claimed his plane had engine trouble, causing him to parachute out of it while holding a selfie stick to record himself. Cameras also showed the plane’s descent over Los Padres National Forest and ultimate crash.
“I’m just so happy to be alive,” Jacob says in the video after he lands.
The video shows Jacob hiking to the wreckage of the plane and filming it up close. “After parachuting to the ground, Jacob hiked to the location of the wreck and recovered the data containing the video recording of his flight and the crash of the airplane,” according to the DOJ.
In the weeks following the wreck as federal investigators looked into the crash, the government said Jacob lied to investigators about not knowing the whereabouts of the plane wreckage. He later went flew to the site on a helicopter with a friend and lifted the wreckage away from the crash site, then destroyed the remains and “deposited the detached parts of the wrecked airplane into trash bins at the airport and elsewhere, which he admitted in his plea agreement was done with the intent to obstruct federal authorities from investigating.”
A plea agreement and a one-count criminal information charging Jacob were filed Wednesday in United States District Court in Los Angeles. Unlike an indictment, an information does not require a grand jury’s vote.
The whole stunt was intended to promote a wallet he received a sponsorship deal for, Jacob admitted in the plea agreement.
Jacob also lied to investigators in a report he filed that claimed the plane experienced a full loss of power about half an hour into the flight and that he parachuted out of the plane when he determined he couldn’t find a safe place to land it. The Federal Aviation Administration revoked his pilot’s license in April 2022.
Jacob agreed to plea guilty to one count of destruction and concealment with the intent to obstruct a federal investigation. The charge carries up to 20 years in federal prison. The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Central District of California said he’s expected in court in the coming weeks.
- Athora Akter With over 04 years of experience in the field of journalism, Athora Akter heads the editorial operations of the JK News Live as the Executive Writer.
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