Would you whip out your phone to record injured people involved in a car crash and post that video to Facebook? If you were 41-year-old Paul Pelton of Lorain, Ohio, the answer is a resounding “yes,” which earned him an arrest, the Northeast Ohio Media Group reports.
This started when the driver of a Honda sedan lost control after driving quickly toward a level crossing. As a result, the car crashed into a house, catching fire. Even though local residents tried to help, however, Pelton felt the need to take out his phone, filmed the two injured 17-year-olds, entered the crashed car to record some more, and uploaded the video to his Facebook account.
According to the Lorain Police Department’s Facebook post of Pelton’s arrest, it noted that Pelton called the boys “idiots,” even though it was obvious they needed medical attention. What’s worse, however, is Pelton allegedly offered two news organizations the video in exchange for cash compensation.
The police caught wind of this and arrested Pelton, who posted the video under the name Paul Santucci. However, as far as the law is concerned, Pelton could only be charged with vehicle trespassing, a fourth-degree misdemeanor. In other words, under the law, the Lorain Police Department could only give Pelton a slap on the hand.
“We searched to try to find anything to charge him with,” Lorain Police Detective Buddy Sivert told Reuters. “It is not a crime to stick a camera where a kid is dying or try to sell it.” Unfortunately, one of the injured teenagers, Cameron Friend, died of his injuries after being taken to the hospital.
Since then, ABC 13 reported that Pelton issued a video apology. “I just wanted to educate people to slow down,” said Pelton. “I didn’t do that to have some type of gore video.”
Even though that may be the case, the Lorain Police Department, much like us at Digital Trends, urge people to help in the case of an emergency when it’s safe to do so and to not just stand idly by.