Man pleads not guilty in crash that killed 19-year-old passenger - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Man pleads not guilty in crash that killed 19-year-old passenger

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SAN DIEGO (CNS) - A Rancho Bernardo man, allegedly high on methamphetamine when he ran a red light, crashed into a Poway fire truck and killed a 19-year-old passenger in his car, pleaded not guilty Monday to charges of gross vehicular manslaughter while under the influence of drugs.

Robbie Dean Gillespie, 45, was arrested Thursday at his home in the 12000 block of Alta Carmel Court and booked into San Diego Central Jail in the crash that killed Evelyn Courtney in her hometown of Poway on June 20. Courtney was an aspiring fashion model.

Deputy District Attorney Dan Link said Gillespie was arrested June 18 for having 1.8 grams of meth in a Poway hotel room. Four other people -- two men, 38 and 42, and two women, 18 and 19 -- also were there, he said.

Gillespie bailed out of jail the next morning and, while free, admitted to using meth and marijuana, Link said.

On June 20 about 4 a.m., Gillespie got in a car with Courtney, whom he described as a friend, and was driving under the influence of meth when he ran a red light and collided with the front of a fire truck going about 40 mph.

Courtney died at the scene of the crash. Gillespie was freed from the wreckage and hospitalized.

He was arrested but not initially charged while officers investigated. 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, according to sheriff's Lt. Jeff Duckworth.

In the six weeks or so since Gillespie was freed from jail, he moved back into an apartment where his wife once lived, and sheriff's deputies have been to the unit at least three times, and seized drugs twice, Link said.

Aside from gross vehicular manslaughter, Gillespie is charged with felony possession of methamphetamine and a misdemeanor count of being under the influence of meth from the incident on June 18.

Gillespie faces 10 years and eight months in prison if convicted. A preliminary hearing was scheduled for Aug. 16.

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