Capt. Kelliann Leli, an Air Force doctor, pictured with her husband, was struck and killed by a forklift on Nov. 27, 2020, on Al Dhafra Air Base in the United Arab Emirates. A Roxboro, North Carolina, man pleaded guilty to manslaughter charges on Nov. 8 in her death. US Air Force photo.
A forklift driver moving pallets of water had nine seconds to avoid striking and killing an Air Force doctor in 2020.
Instead, the civilian contractor, Ari Taylor, was distracted by his cell phone as he drove the heavy machine and never saw Capt. Kelliann Leli.
The Roxboro, North Carolina, man struck Leli with the forklift, killing her, on Nov. 27, 2020, on Al Dhafra Air Base in the United Arab Emirates.
Taylor, 32, pleaded guilty in a federal court Tuesday, Nov. 8, to involuntary manslaughter in Leli's death.
Capt. Kelliann Leli, left, 60th Healthcare Operations Squadron, and Capt. Jimmy Leli, 6th Air Refueling Squadron, take a photo at a deployed location in Southwest Asia. This was the couple's last photo taken together. US Air Force photo.
According to the Department of Justice, Taylor was working as a civilian contractor while driving a forklift carrying pallets of water at the UAE base. He was moving the water in a path shared by vehicles and pedestrians, between a medical clinic and living quarters.
Taylor acknowledged in his plea agreement that pedestrians were frequently present in this area.
Leli, 30, was a native of Sayreville, New Jersey, and graduated from the US Air Force Academy in 2012. Leli was assigned to the 60th Healthcare Operations Squadron at Travis Air Force Base, California, and was on her first deployment with the 380th Air Expeditionary Wing.
Her husband, Air Force Capt. Jimmy Leli, is a KC-10 pilot in the 6th Aerial Refueling Squadron at Travis. After her death, he released a photo of the couple taken about six months before her death. It was the couple’s last photo together.
According to the Department of Justice, a crash reconstruction expert concluded that Taylor had almost nine seconds to prevent the crash, but Taylor admitted that he did not see Leli. He will be sentenced April 25, 2023.
Matt White is a former senior editor for Coffee or Die Magazine. He was a pararescueman in the Air Force and the Alaska Air National Guard for eight years and has more than a decade of experience in daily and magazine journalism.
BRCC and Bad Moon Print Press team up for an exclusive, limited-edition T-shirt design!
BRCC partners with Team Room Design for an exclusive T-shirt release!
Thirty Seconds Out has partnered with BRCC for an exclusive shirt design invoking the God of Winter.
Lucas O'Hara of Grizzly Forge has teamed up with BRCC for a badass, exclusive Shirt Club T-shirt design featuring his most popular knife and tiomahawk.
Coffee or Die sits down with one of the graphic designers behind Black Rifle Coffee's signature look and vibe.
Biden will award the Medal of Honor to a Vietnam War Army helicopter pilot who risked his life to save a reconnaissance team from almost certain death.
Ever wonder how much Jack Mandaville would f*ck sh*t up if he went back in time? The American Revolution didn't even see him coming.
A nearly 200-year-old West Point time capsule that at first appeared to yield little more than dust contains hidden treasure, the US Military Academy said.