Driver in crash that killed model speaks out

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POWAY, Calif. – The driver who collided with a fire truck in Poway, killing his passenger, broke his silence to Fox5 Saturday.

Two weeks after a deadly crash at the intersection, 44-year-old Robbie Gillespie described what happened during the early morning hours of June 20.

Gillespie said he was hanging out with 19-year-old aspiring model and former Poway High School student Evelyn Jean Courtney.  They had known each other for a month and half.

“We were just friends,” said Gillespie.  “She thought of me more as a father figure. I kind of thought myself as a big brother.”

Robbie-Gillespie, poway crash with fire truck

Robbie Gillespie / Evelyn Jean Courtney

On Tuesday, June 18, Gillespie was released from jail and said he had met up with Courtney the next evening.

“We went to Jack in the Box and we were just hanging out,” said Gillespie. “I tried to help her and she tried to help me with my issues.”

Contrary to previously published reports, he said Courtney was not on an early morning modeling shoot.

Gillespie said he was taking Courtney home to her parent’s home in Poway when the accident happened.

“As I entered into the intersection at Midland and Poway, I heard nothing,” recalled Gillespie.  “That’s when I looked over and I saw the fire truck.  Instinct was to hit the gas and accelerate, but I had no chance.”

Gillespie was pulled out of his mangled car and survived the crash, but Courtney did not.

“I’ve got six cracked ribs, I’m in a lot of pain,” said Gillespie. “I’m grieving on the inside. It’s been a really tough week.”

The accident is still under investigation.  Firefighters said they entered the intersection on a green light.  Crews also told detectives they had emergency lights on as they were on their way to a medical call.

“The sirens were not on,” said Gillespie.  “I think had I heard the sirens it would have definitely helped me be more alert.”

An opened container of alcohol was found in Gillespie’s car, but investigators have not confirmed if the accident was drunk driving related.

Gillespie told Fox 5 he has struggled with drugs and alcohol, but said on the night of the accident he did not drink nor did he use any drugs.

“I would never use in front of [Courtney]. She knows that,” said Gillespie.  “I was being responsible. I was respecting her wishes that I didn’t do that, so I didn’t.”

He said what happened was an accident.

“It was simply an accident,” said Gillespie. “Yes, I feel terrible that it happened, but in the same token I know in my heart that was trying to do the right thing.”

Gillespie had not been charged in the accident.   He is married and a father of two teenagers. No family members wanted to make a comment.

19 comments

  • kristinbethea

    Is it just me or does this guy look and sound stoned or drunk (or both) during the interview?

  • Tory Holway

    Dude had better come up with something better than that. Just got out of jail, hanging with an "aspiring model" half his age, early morning ,alcohol, married with kids. I imagine you're gonna see the inside of a cell for a long time.

  • GUEST

    I see her boyfriend's last name is Gillespie and this guy's last name is Gillespie too… any relation???

  • GUEST 2

    I KNOW THIS DOUCHE PERSONALLY! and he is back doing his old tricks again driving around in the middle of the night! HE NEEDS TO BE ARRESTED NOW! AND REFUSING REHAB

    • Guest 3

      I know him too and he shows NO remorse and is taking NO responsibility for killing that girl! Disgusting.Get a grip Rob!!!!

  • Guest

    What is a nice beautiful girl doing hanging around a low life like this? Is he her drug pusher or something?

  • Lin

    We were just hanging out! Seriously, why is a 44 year old man "hanging out" at Jack In The Box with a 19 year old? I haven't hung out at Jack In The Box with anyone that age since I was in High School a long time ago.
    Another life lost because this guy wasn't thinking of anyone else but himself.

  • thechurchofchrismartin

    Do not mean to disparage the deceased but let's be HONEST here: the model was hanging out with this scuzzy guy to score some meth to help stay skinny. We all know that these chicks have to starve themselves or smoke cigarettes like crazy to kill their appetite so they stay chic and thin. Some turn to drugs to not want to eat & I bet that's what happened here. Coke and meth give you energy but make it so you are not hungry. Why else would this hot girl want anything thing to do with this creepy dude headed off to prison? Just sayin.

  • irateiconoclast

    Obviously a white trash tragedy, this story has as many holes in it as…a piece of rotten Swiss cheese. Feel sorry for the guy's kids, and maybe (depending on her behavior) his wife: dad's out boffin' some teen-skank instead of hangin' at home with the kiddies!

  • Jay

    So they met a month and a half before the accident but he was released from jail just TWO DAYS before the accident? Jail pen-pals or what? Something definitely isn't right with this story..

  • Anon

    He is a photographer. She is a model. Camera equipment and lingerie were visible in the car and in the bag after the crash. He initially said she was working a "fashion" project, and it wasn't a late night or early morning photo shoot. Because he knew how bad it would look and not win him any allies. The defense lawyers should pull both their Model Mayhem model/photography account messages to each other, or any messages related to that night. They should also pull any text messages between the two in the week before the meeting. Very funny that supposedly she was dating his son, when everyone involved was in the amateur modeling business (him, his wife, her, her dad, etc.)

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