YouTuber jumping out of plane

Screenshot from @trevorjacob YouTube channel

Views equal money on YouTube, and Trevor Daniel Jacob was willing to do whatever he needed to increase views of his videos — even if it meant crashing a plane into the California hillside.

What did Jacbo do, and what consequences does he face for the stunt?

A Plane Crashes in the Woods

On November 24, 2021, YouTube creator and former Olympic snowboarder Trevor Daniel Jacob took off in his private plane from Lompoc City Airport in Santa Barbara County, California. His destination was Mammoth Lakes, according to a news release from the Central District of California.

Jacob was alone in the plane, which was set up with cameras both inside and outside, and he was wearing a parachute.

Roughly 35 minutes into flying, when the plane was over Los Padres National Forest near Santa Maria, Jacob opened the door and jumped out. Filming himself with a selfie stick, Jacob documented his free fall, parachute deployment, and safe landing.

The plane was left unmanned and crashed into the hillside.

Jacob walked to the wreckage and took footage of the aftermath of the crash. Roughly one month later, on December 23 Jacob uploaded the video to his YouTube channel and titled it “I Crashed My Airplane.”

A Miracle or a Stunt?

Jacob’s YouTube video framed the crash as an accident. Jacob acted as though it was an inevitable disaster that he had survived, but viewers thought something was up. They commented that it was suspicious Jacob was wearing a parachute and that he had not attempted an emergency landing.

Authorities were also suspicious.

Two days after the accident, Jacob had informed the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) of the plane crash. He told a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) aviation safety inspector that the airplane’s engine had quit, and he had parachuted out of the plane because he could not identify any safe landing options.

At that time, Jacob agreed to help with the investigation and share the location of the crash. Authorities told him not to disturb the scene of the crash as they wanted to conduct an investigation.

Then, Jacob changed his story.

He reportedly told federal prosecutors in the Central District of California that he did not know the location of the wreckage, and he made it so investigators would never find the plane.

Related: Get Good Legal Representation by Asking This One Question

A Lie and a Confession

On December 10, 2021, Jacob and a friend flew a helicopter to the plane wreckage. They attached the wreckage to the helicopter and carried it to Rancho Sisquoc in Santa Barbara County, where it was loaded onto a trailer attached to Jacob’s pickup truck.

Investigators say Jacob took the wreckage and then dismantled it in an attempt to dispose of the evidence.

Jacob’s attempt to hide what happened that day was in vain. Investigators eventually accused Jacob of wrongdoing and he came forward with a confession.

Jacob told investigators the crash was a stunt done to create a video for a sponsorship with a wallet company.

Related: If You’re Arrested for a Crime, Immediately Take These 6 Steps

Facing the Consequences

Jacob admitted to all wrongdoing. He plead guilty to destruction and concealment with the intent to obstruct a federal investigation. The charges he faced carried a statutory maximum sentence of 20 years in federal prison, according to the Central District of California’s statement.

Instead of facing potentially lengthy time, Jacob signed a plea deal that sentenced him to six months in federal prison.

While Jacob’s attorneys fought for no jail time, prosecutors argued a prison sentence was “necessary to prevent others from attempting this type of stunt,” according to reporting by CNN.

Jacob’s video documenting the crash is still on YouTube, and it has received 4.5 million views.

Related: What to Ask During a Free Consultation with a Lawyer

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