An Ohio man was arrested on Monday after he witnessed a car crash and, instead of helping the injured occupants, decided to capture the results of the accident with his cell phone from inside the crashed car.
The Lorain Police Department report states that 41-year-old Paul Pelton “took the opportunity to video [the] horrible scene with his cell phone” while two 17-year-old boys were seriously injured in the front seats.
While others who witnessed the accident were attempting to help the boys before an ambulance arrived, Pelton opened the back door to capture video from inside. He’s heard in the video calling the boys “idiots,” and neither assists the victims nor comforts them, police say.
The passenger later died of his injuries after being taken to a local hospital.
Police first learned of the existence of Pelton’s video after he posted it to Facebook and then approached two news outlets in attempts to sell the footage. Investigators then began looking for a way to arrest Pelton for his actions.
“We searched to try to find anything to charge him with,” detective Buddy Sivert tells Reuters. “It is not a crime to stick a camera where a kid is dying or try to sell it.”
What is a crime, however, is entering a car without permission, so that’s what police ended up arresting Pelton for. He’s being charged with vehicular trespass, a fourth-degree misdemeanor.
“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,” writes Captain Roger Watkins.
If convicted, Pelton faces a maximum penalty of 30 days in jail and a $250 fine.