A trucker lost his life earlier this month at a truck stop in Ohio when he was hit by a Canadian driver while walking. Though authorities initially wrote the incident off as a tragic accident, investigators recently found reason to file criminal charges against the Canadian trucker.
Authorities were called to the Pilot Travel Center on Route 46 off of I-80 in Austintown, Ohio, at around 9 in the morning. They arrived to find that 29-year-old Arman Meco, a Michigan-based trucker, had been run over by another truck. The truck stop was busy, but no one had seen the incident.
Canadian truck driver Guillaume Pelletier, 24, told police that he didn’t know he had hit Meco until someone flagged him down in the lot and told him to stop. Police spoke with mechanics who were working nearby who heard Meco’s screams and ran out to find him trapped under the Pelletier’s truck.
Police found a phone and earphones near Meco’s body. Investigators initially surmised that he had stepped out from in between two trucks while listening to music, and neither he nor Pelletier noticed each other until too late.
There were no security cameras that captured the incident, but police were eventually able to get access to video taken by a camera on Pelletier’s truck. Its contents led police to charge Pelletier with Vehicular Homicide.
Captain Bryan Kloss of the Austintown Police Department told reporters that the videotape shows that Pelletier should have been able to see Meco for about 10 seconds before he accident. The Canadian driver drove a distance of 11 truck parking spaces between the time Meco is visible in the video and when the accident occurred.
Investigators still believe that Pelletier didn’t know he had hit Meco until the mechanics flagged him down. But according to WFMJ, the misdemeanor charge of Vehicular Homicide only requires a prosecutor to prove that it was his “negligent” behavior that caused Meco’s death.
“After reviewing the video there’s no doubt in my mind that [Pelletier] should have been able to stop,” Captain Bryan Kloss of the Austintown Police Department said.
It is not clear why Pelletier did not see Meco. A toxicology report came back clean, and investigators say Pelletier did not seem inebriated at the time of the accident. Investigators are still waiting on a phone record request to see if he may have been distracted at the time of the accident. Regardless of those findings however, authorities plan to continue with the same criminal charges.
“The Prosecutor’s Office is reaching out to that Attorney today to make arrangements to have the driver turn himself in,” said Captain Kloss.
If convicted, Pelletier faces up to six months in jail and a mandatory license suspension of between one and five years.