A man who admitted being high on methamphetamine when he ran a red light and crashed his car into a Poway fire truck, killing his 19-year-old passenger, was sentenced today to 10 years in prison.

Robbie Dean Gillespie, 45, pleaded guilty last September to gross vehicular manslaughter while under the influence of drugs and possession of methamphetamine.

A CHP cruiser. Photo courtesy CHP.

Gillespie, who has a long history of alcohol and drug abuse, was well- deserving of the aggravated prison term, said Deputy District Attorney Dan Link.

“He’s earned it,” the prosecutor told Judge Dwayne Moring. “He’s had his chances. Mr. Gillespie has blamed everyone but himself.”

Link said the victim’s family didn’t know the defendant, though Gillespie, according to court testimony, told the victim’s brother that she was helping him with a project.

Gillespie was arrested last Aug. 1 at his home in the 12000 block of Alta Carmel Court in Rancho Bernardo for the death of Evelyn Courtney, an aspiring fashion model.

Gillespie was also arrested two days before the fatal crash for having 1.8 grams of meth in a Poway hotel room. Two men and two women, 18 and 19 years old, were also in the room. Gillespie bailed out of jail the next morning and admitted using meth and marijuana while free, Link said.

On June 20 about 4 a.m., Gillespie got in a car with Courtney and was under the influence of meth when he ran a red light and his car collided with a fire truck going about 40 mph. Courtney died at the scene. Gillespie was freed from the wreckage and hospitalized.

Gillespie was arrested but not charged until a traffic investigation was completed. In interviews with news outlets, Gillespie said he was taking Courtney home when the accident happened.

An open alcoholic beverage container was found in Gillespie’s Honda Accord, sheriff’s deputies said.

Gillespie’s attorney, Bonita Martinez, told the judge that Gillespie had a bad childhood and suffered from severe mental illness and sleep apnea.

As a result, Gillespie was actually rendered unconscious during the accident, Martinez argued.

The judge said Gillespie was a threat to society, and violated the trust of the victim.

 –City News Service.

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