Ohio police charge man who filmed but didn't aid teens in car crash

By Kim Palmer

CLEVELAND (Reuters) - An Ohio man was charged on Wednesday for entering a vehicle after an accident where he filmed two injured teenagers, one of whom later died, while calling them “idiots” and making no effort to help them, police said.

Paul Pelton, 41, was charged with vehicular trespass after he opened a back door and leaned into the vehicle to capture video on his cellphone just after the Monday accident in Lorain, 30 miles west of Cleveland, the Lorain Police Department said.

The crash involved Zachary Goodin and Cameron Friend, both 17. Friend, who was a passenger, was taken to an area hospital where he died of his injuries, while Goodin’s condition was unknown.

Neighbors tried to help the pair while Pelton filmed, and at no time did he try to assist, police said.

Pelton, a Lorain resident, was arrested and charged with a fourth-degree misdemeanor for entering what police said was a crime scene, not for taking the video or trying to sell it to news organizations after posting it to Facebook, Lorain Police Detective Buddy Sivert said.

Pelton committed a crime only when he entered the car without permission, Sivert said. If convicted, he faces a maximum of 30 days in jail and a $250 fine.

“We searched to try to find anything to charge him with,” Sivert said. “It is not a crime to stick a camera where a kid is dying or try to sell it.”

Pelton posted bond and was released, Sivert said. No court date has been set.

The driver lost control of the car as it crossed railroad tracks and it crashed into the side of a house, police said.

(Editing by Ben Klayman and Eric Walsh)