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Man films fatal crash without helping, tries to sell video

Published: Friday, July 17, 2015 @ 9:42 AM
Updated: Friday, July 17, 2015 @ 11:11 AM
By: Chelsea Todaro - Palm Beach Post Staff Writer

He’s now known as “America’s worst Samaritan,” The Daily Beast reports.

An Ohio man faces criminal charges after opening the door of a crashed vehicle -- in which one teen was dying and another was critically injured -- not to render aid, but to try to sell the footage to local TV stations, police say.

Paul Pelton, 41, recorded cell-phone video of 17-year-old Zachary Goodin losing control of his car after speeding over train tracks and then crashing into a house, an SUV and a tree early Monday morning, The Daily Beast reports.

According to police, Pelton called the two boys in the car “idiots” while recording and opened the vehicle’s back door to get inside footage of the car. He then went to the window to get a shot of Goodin and continued filming after the car caught fire.

While Pelton was filming, neighbors came to help pull Goodin out of the vehicle. The passenger, Cameron Friend, 17, was unconscious and later died at the hospital.

The Lorain Police Department discovered that Pelton posted the video to Facebook and tried to sell it to local news stations. He was arrested Wednesday on charges of vehicle trespass.  

People are encouraged to help accident victims, authorities said. “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,” Captain Roger Watkins wrote in a Facebook post.

Authorities say Pelton never attempted to help the victims and “was trying to make a buck off a horrifying emergency,” according to The Daily Beast.

“There’s a place a time to capture things on video … but this guy went into the crime scene for his own purposes,” said Sgt. Buddy Sivert to The Daily Beast. “Videotaping a dying kid and posting it is not the proper thing to do.”