Cops: Guy Films Dying Teen Instead of Helping

Charged with trespass for opening car door after deadly crash
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 16, 2015 5:07 PM CDT
Cops: Guy Films Dying Teen Instead of Helping
Paul Pelton shown here.   (Lorain (Ohio) Police Department)

The Daily Beast has christened Ohio's Paul Pelton "America's Worst Samaritan," a distinction the 41-year-old earned thanks to his behavior at a deadly car crash. He filmed the two teenage victims instead of trying to help them, then tried to sell the footage to local media, reports newsnet5 of Cleveland. At one point, Pelton opened the back door of the vehicle and filmed the interior as 17-year-old Cameron Friend lay dying and driver Zachary Goodin, also 17, lay critically injured. Pelton muttered "idiots" throughout his video, which he ended up posting on Facebook and trying to push onto news organizations. By opening the car door, Pelton got himself into legal, not ethical, trouble. Police have charged him with vehicle trespass.

"Persons are not ... 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," wrote Capt. Roger Watkins of the Lorain Police Department on Facebook. Other bystanders were at the scene with Pelton, but they were trying to help the teens. Pelton has since apologized publicly. "I just wanted to educate people to slow down," he tells the Cleveland TV station. "I didn't do that to have some type of gore video." Friend died from his injuries, and Goodin remains in critical condition, reports 19ActionNews. "To take that video and put it on Facebook, it just shows you have no principles," one of the bystanders who tried to help at the scene tells Fox19. "That guy's mom probably had to see that." (A Good Samaritan who actually stopped to help people whose SUV rolled over met a tragic end.)

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