Olympia, Washington – A corpse strapped to a gurney fell out of a coroner’s van and overturned in the middle of an intersection as a motorist captured the scene on video. (Video below)
There was also a second gurney that was empty that also was ejected from the van on Monday afternoon, according to The Olympian. The unoccupied gurney rolled down the street and was found in a parking lot.
The coroner’s van was on its way to the Thurston County Coroner’s Office at about 12:30 PM after it responded to a home death, the newspaper reported.
The video taken by a motorist showed what appeared to be a body covered in a white sheet strapped to an overturned gurney in the middle of an intersection.
Olympia Police Lt. Paul Lower said two officers were dispatched to the intersection and were able to reroute traffic away from the corpse. The coroner’s office was told about the mishap and returned to get the two gurneys and the dead body, police said.
Authorities are investigating the incident to determine whether it was an operating error or mechanical failure, according to Thurston County Coroner Gary Warnock.
Warnock said there was no trauma to the body from falling out of the van. The family of the deceased was notified of what happened.
Warnock has worked for the coroner’s office since 2001 and said that nothing like this has happened in the past.
Some readers of The Olympian were angry that the local newspaper would publish a photo of the corpse on the newspaper’s Facebook page. Others tried to find a lighter side to the story.
“The deceased was ticketed for jaywalking and operating a medical transport device in traffic without appropriate lights and sirens,” a Corey Moore posted on the newspaper’s Facebook page.
“Job opening at the coroner’s office,” a Susan Rhoades posted.
Watch: Motorist sees dead body in the middle of the street.