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Fatal Crash Looks at Both Drivers for Answers

The old saying goes that two wrongs don’t make a right, and on June 20, an accident in Poway tragically demonstrated that the saying is right. At 4 am, Poway firefighters were answering a medical call, and they had permitted a new firefighter who had not passed his exam to drive the fire engine. Capt. Andy Page was Commander in charge, and he made the fatal mistake of authorizing the uncertified firefighter to drive that night.

But the Honda that was T-boned by the fire engine was being driven by 45 year-old Robbie Gillespie. He was released from jail only a few hours before the accident and had picked up his girlfriend Evelyn Courtney. Gillespie made a fatal decision for his girlfriend and he included because he was under the influence of methamphetamines prior to the accident. There was no winner in this accident because unfortunately, 19-year-old Evelyn Courtney was killed at the scene. Both drivers are being questioned as to their role in the accident.

Who is at Fault?

According to Mission Viejo attorney Michael Kinslow, the lawyer representing Evelyn Courtney’s parents, he believes that the firefighters should have taken more care and not allowed an inexperienced driver at the wheel. But, he obviously stated that Gillespie appears to carry the major part of the responsibility because he ran the stop sign and was driving under the influence. A DUI in California is a serious offence and Gillespie has the added charge of vehicular manslaughter, which is called DUI manslaughter in California.

DUI manslaughter in California can be charged as either a misdemeanor or a felony, and the punishment is up to seven years. If Gillespie was tried for manslaughter, he could not be charged for the DUI, too.


J. Harry Jones is a reporter for the U-T San Diego, he reported that both drivers of the vehicles could be held responsible; the fire engine was being driven by a firefighter who was not yet certified, and the Honda that ran the stop sign was being driven by a driver high on meth.

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