Ohio man arrested after filming fatal crash scene
He opened the car’s back door and continued filming what police called “a young man’s dying moments” before paramedics and police arrived
LORAIN, Ohio — An Ohio man was arrested and charged with trespassing in a vehicle after entering the car of two teenage crash victims to take a video with his cell phone.
Police say the teen’s car lost control after speeding over a train crossing and crashing into an SUV, a house and a tree. The driver, Zachary Gooding, 17, is being treated at an area hospital.
Lorain police said Paul Pelton, 41, was arrested at his home, and should have helped the victims rather than opening the car door to film them. Pelton did not offer the video recording to police. He posted the video on Facebook, and attempted to sell it to news organizations, including ABC. In a Facebook message, he asked ABC for a donation to a charity in exchange for the video, which ABC declined.
“While others were rendering aid to these boys, a male took the opportunity to video this horrible scene with his cell phone,” Lorain police said. “In the video, the male makes comments that the boys were ‘idiots’ and holds his cell phone so that he can film these two boys who were in a medical crisis.”
The video was taken before police or paramedics arrived. Pelton recorded the smoking car seconds after the crash. He then opened the back door of the vehicle involved, and continued recording.
“Had he videotaped it across the street, we wouldn’t have an issue with it,” Lorain Police Detective Sergeant Buddy Sivert said. “The issue started when he entered the vehicle to take the video, and the fact that he’s videotaping two young men who were, one critically injured, one seriously injured.”
Pelton said he was trying to help, but police said he never offered aid to the victims.
“I thought I saw movement in the backseat, so I wanted to open the door there to see if there were any victims back there that maybe I could help,” Pelton told ABC 5.
Lorain Police called it an attempt to make a profit from “a young man’s dying moments.”
“He’s not at the crime scene to try to assist anybody,” Sivert said. “He’s there for his own gain. Then he breaks the law by trespassing into someone’s vehicle.”
Pelton said he was trying to educate the public.
“I just wanted to educate people to slow down,” he said. “I didn’t do that to have some type of gore video.”