Trevor Daniel Jacob, a 30-year-old YouTuber, was sentenced to six months in federal prison for obstructing an investigation by destroying debris from a staged plane crash.
- Jacob staged the plane crash in California and posted a video titled “I Crashed My Airplane” on YouTube in December 2021, claiming engine failure and parachuting to safety.
- The video was part of a sponsorship deal, and Jacob never intended to complete the flight. He later obstructed the investigation by destroying the wreckage and providing false information about its location to federal investigators.
- Jacob pleaded guilty in June to one count of destruction and concealment with the intent to obstruct a federal investigation.
- The video showed Jacob jumping out of the plane with a parachute, purportedly experiencing engine failure over the Los Padres National Forest in Santa Barbara County.
- Cameras mounted on the wing and tail of the plane recorded the jump and the plane’s plunge. Jacob hiked to the crash site, retrieved video footage, and later destroyed the wreckage.
- The plea agreement revealed that Jacob had his pilot license revoked by the Federal Aviation Administration in 2022.
- An experienced pilot and skydiver, Jacob and a friend used a helicopter to gather the wreckage and later moved the parts with a trailer attached to his pickup truck.
- The plane parts were eventually cut up and thrown away in trash bins.
- The case highlights the legal consequences of staging dangerous stunts for content creation on social media platforms.
- Influencers and content creators are increasingly facing scrutiny for engaging in risky or illegal activities for the sake of views and engagement.
The sentence serves as a reminder that obstructing investigations and endangering public safety for the sake of online content can result in serious legal repercussions.