Wear and tear on a pickup truck used to transport bodies caused a hatchback to open and a corpse to fall onto a busy highway, an apologetic coroner in Pennsylvania said. The vehicle, due to be replaced in the next few months, now has been retired.
The hatchback swung open after a series of mishaps inside the 12-year-old pickup, Campbell said. First, a locking mechanism securing the gurney failed. Then the gurney struck the back of the vehicle, dislodging a hatchback handle that was held in place with worn screws. The hatchback door then opened, prompting a small ramp to unfold. The gurney then slid out into the street, he said.
Bucks County Coroner Joseph Campbell identified the body as that of a young woman who died of an apparent drug overdose. His office has contacted her family. The body was inside a body bag that was covered in a white sheet.
"It was a horrible thing," Campbell told the Bucks County Courier Times. "I can't tell you how upset I was."
Bystander Jerry Bradley saw the gurney Friday in the busy four-lane road as he pulled out of a nearby shopping center in Lower Southampton Township and took a photograph that has been circulating online. He said he helped the transport driver get the gurney back into the vehicle.
The driver reported the situation and, with Bradley's help, had the gurney back inside within a few minutes.