DOCUMENT: Revolting, Crime

Ghoul Arrested For Filming Fatal Auto Crash

Cops: Ohioan, 41, opened car door for better shot

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Crash Video Bust

JULY 16--An Ohio man who used his phone to record the fiery aftermath of a fatal auto accident--while not offering aid to the teenage victims--is facing a criminal charge for opening the vehicle’s door so that he could get a better shot of the injured, police allege.

According to cops, Paul Pelton, 41, was among several bystanders who rushed early Monday morning to the crash site in Lorain, a city 30 miles outside Cleveland. While others sought to free two unconscious 17-year-old boys stuck in the crumpled car, Pelton stood by and filmed the scene with his cell phone.

Before police or rescue personnel arrived, Pelton allegedly opened one of the Honda Accord’s rear doors and leaned in to film the injured teenagers. On Pelton’s six-minute video, cops noted, he is heard referring to the injured boys as “idiots.”

Passenger Cameron Friend died later Monday at a Cleveland hospital, while driver Zachary Goodin remains hospitalized in stable condition.

Cops reported that the speeding Honda carrying Friend and Goodin first struck a utility pole after crossing a set of railroad tracks, then caromed into a parked SUV and a house. The totaled car caught fire after coming to a stop around 12:40 AM.

After filming the injured victims, Pelton uploaded the clip to Facebook, and then contacted local news organizations to try and sell footage of a dying boy and his seriously injured friend. Pelton subsequently removed the video from Facebook (a screen grab from the clip is at left).

Pictured above, Pelton was arrested yesterday and charged with vehicle trespass, a misdemeanor, for opening the Honda’s rear door and leaning into the vehicle for a more gory shot. He is scheduled for a July 21 Municipal Court appearance.

In announcing Pelton’s arrest, a police spokesperson noted that citizens are encouraged to lend a hand during emergencies, adding that “rendering aid or comfort to a dying young man and his severely injured friend is a commendable and kindly act.” But the cop added, “Persons are not, however, allowed to trespass into a person's vehicle criminally and without permission for the seemingly singular cause of filming, a young man's dying moments, for profit.” (2 pages)