Wear and tear on a pickup truck used to transport bodies caused a hatchback to open and a corpse to fall on to a busy highway, an apologetic coroner in Pennsylvania 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.
"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 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.
The body was inside a body bag that was covered in a white sheet.
The driver reported the situation and, with Bradley's help, had the gurney back inside within a few minutes.
The vehicle, due to be replaced in the next few months, has been retired.
Information from: Bucks County Courier Times, http://www.buckscountycouriertimes.com