Gurney holding deceased person falls from van into traffic

By: Kevin McCarty

Updated:

OLYMPIA, Wash. - A woman shooting a Facebook video expressed shock and horror after seeing a gurney lying in the middle of an Olympia intersection with human remains strapped onto it.

“What the hell is happening right now? I’m at a stoplight and there is a ******* body on a gurney that’s just sitting there,” the woman shouted as she recorded the scene. “There’s no ambulance around anywhere, there’s just a person!”

It was about noon Monday when Olympia police and eyewitnesses said a van from the Thurston County coroner's office was driving through the intersection of Martin Way East and Phoenix Street Southeast.

Somehow two gurneys inside the van rolled through a door and onto the pavement. One was empty, the other was holding the body of someone recently deceased and was being transported to the coroner’s office.

“There was a dead body sitting in the middle of the street on a gurney,” said Lauren Cloninger who heard commotion outside Northwest Home and Hearth, her family’s store on the corner.

“Everyone was kind of freaking out, out there. But it was definitely an interesting experience.”


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“The police did their best as they turned the gurney back over, you know, righted it, to quickly cover it,” said Cloninger’s mother, Patty. “But for those who did see it, ourselves included, it was unsettling.”

The Cloningers said police helped employees from the coroner's office to get the gurney secured inside the van and appeared to wrestle with some equipment onboard. Coroner Gary Warnock didn’t comment on the incident except to say it was being investigated.

The Cloningers say their hearts go out to the family of the deceased person whose remains tumbled onto the roadway.

“I feel really bad for the family that probably has to know that that happened,” Lauren Cloninger said.

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