Contractor pleads guilty in fatally striking Air Force Captain with a forklift at a military base in UAE

A civilian contractor has pleaded guilty to the killing of an Air Force officer he struck with a forklift while on a cellphone, the Justice Department said

Authorities have pleaded guilty to an American civilian contractor who killed an Air Force doctor while she was walking along an airbase in Middle East.

Ari Taylor, 32 of Roxboro, North Carolina was driving the forklift to deliver water pallets on Al Dhafra Airbase, United Arab Emirates, when he collided with Capt. Kelliann Leli.

He pleaded guilty to one count for involuntary murder.


An Air Force Capt. After being struck by a forklift operator at a military base in Middle East, Kelliann Leli was killed. (Hun Choi Minoda, 60th Air Mobility Wing Public Affairs).

The incident occurred as he was driving his machine through a space shared with pedestrians and vehicles between a barracks and a medical clinic when he collided with the machine.

Taylor was using his phone at the time and did not see Leli, according to the Justice Department. According to a crash reconstruction expert, Taylor had less than 9 seconds to stop her from striking him. Taylor claimed that he did not see Leli.

FBI and the Air Force investigated the case.

Leli was assigned to Travis Air Force Base, California’s 60th Healthcare Operations Squadron.

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According to the Congressional Research Service, around 3,500 U.S. soldiers are stationed within the UAE.

Taylor will be sentenced April 25, 2023.

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