Former TV reporter Trent Evans jailed for causing friend’s death in a drunken high-speed crash
A former television reporter who caused the death of his friend in a drunken high-speed crash in Melbourne has been jailed.
Trent Evans, 45, wiped back tears as he was sentenced to seven years and 10 months’ jail before Victoria’s County Court this morning.
The former Channel 7 journalist had previously admitted to causing the death of his friend Rex Willox in February 2021, pleaded guilty to culpable driving causing death before the court a fortnight ago.
Evans was double the legal blood alcohol limit when he lost control of Willox’s Mercedes in the suburb of Burnley in inner Melbourne, while Willox was in the front passenger seat.
Evans was trying to make a right hand turn and the car slammed into a power pole, causing it to roll over.
Evans has claimed that before the crash Willox was egging him on to go faster, with the car reaching speeds of 112km/h in a 60km/h zone on Barkly Street.
A passer-by rushed to help Willox after the crash, but he died at the scene from his injuries.
Evans recorded a blood-alcohol reading of 0.1.
Judge Gregory Lyon said the seriousness of Evans’ offending was “very great indeed”.
“As a consequence of your level of intoxication, you were incapable of exercising proper control over the car that you were driving,” he told the court.
“The speed at which you drove and the alcohol in your system at the time you drove each constitute very serious breaches of the criminal law in their own right.”
The court heard Evans has been left with a personality disorder and PTSD from the crash.
He has written to Willox’s family to express his remorse, saying he would never forgive himself for their permanent loss and grief.
Evans’ life descended into chaos after he suffered from a mental health breakdown in 2016 while working as a television news journalist and producer in Queensland, the court previously heard.
He began to have difficulty with his speech, became paranoid and was treated in hospital for two weeks.
He returned to Victoria and tried to continue working as a journalist, but could not cope with the demands of the job.
By 2018, Evans was homeless and dependent on drugs, living in boarding houses and sleeping in shelters where he became the victim of assaults.
He has a criminal history that included previous speeding infringements and drink-driving offences dating back to 2005.
Evans was handed a non-parole period of five years and two months’ jail, while his licence was disqualified for four years.
He has already served 18 days.