CLEVELAND, OH — Forty-four year old Jerry Barnes, a mechanic working in the suburbs of Cleveland, has been charged with involuntary manslaughter due to his role in the death of his client, Uriel Mencias.
Mencias was pulling out of Barnes’ auto body shop, “Barnes Auto Body Shop,” after receiving a routine oil change on his 2015 Toyota Prius, when the vehicle promptly exploded, killing the twenty-eight-year-old instantly.
While Barnes has confirmed that his repairs are indeed the reason for the vehicle’s explosion, he will plead not guilty, claiming that the death should be ruled a suicide.
“He came in here talking about some broadcast called Things you should do. Apparently, they did some kind of radio show about how cars work, and he said it made him an expert and started telling me how to do my job” Barnes said.
Forensic scientists at the site of the explosion determined that Mencias had listened to approximately fifteen minutes of the show’s latest episode, “How cars work” two days prior on Spotify. Examiners also discovered that Mencias had posted an Instagram story that evening encouraging his followers to listen to “this “amazing episode on cars” that inspired him to “try an alternative method” for his oil change.
“He said the broadcast made him better with cars than a mechanic and that I needed to replace the oil with gasoline and hand him a lit match as he drove out of the shop,” Barnes explained.
“I said, do you have a death wish?! I have been doing oil changes since I was a little boy, I went to mechanic school, I’m a trained professional. What do you do for a living again?!”
According to his LinkedIn profile, Mencias was an Interim Assistant Deputy Director for Internal Auditing at GE. His profile, however, includes a wide range of endorsed “skills” that are seemingly unrelated to his professional experience.”
“Me, Uriel, and a bunch of our friends from grad school listened to podcasts all the time. You know, “Planet Money, How I Built This, CodeSwitch; stuff like that. We realized that just by listening to an episode on a given topic, we were saying the same things on social media that the experts were,” shared Mencias’ close friend and co-worker, Michael Watts. “So we’re basically experts.”
“He was just positive he knew more about cars than me, so in the end I said you know what? Fine. Here’s your gasoline, and here’s a box of bottle rockets from 4th of July, go die ya dumbass!”
Barnes is expected to appear in court on Tuesday. His lawyer, Mike Harris, is optimistic.
“Mr. Barnes will almost certainly be found innocent,” Harris said.
“I’ve been listening to this podcast, “Medical Murders,” and there’s an episode they did recently about something like this. Where some guy’s own negligence killed him. I think that’s precedent right there.”