Body transportation becomes priority on county agendas

MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - WSFA 12 News told you last week about state budget cuts that will force counties to start transporting bodies to the state forensic lab for autopsy on their own.

The question is now how will individual counties pick up the bill.

Russell County Coroner Arthur Sumbry told commissioners Wednesday morning that a round trip for his department will cost about $300. Sheriff Tommy Boswell says some options the commissioners could explore are contracting with an ambulance company or forcing the coroner to transport bodies himself.

"It will affect...who we send for an autopsy...we will have to be a little more micro-manageable with things we do...making sure we send people that need to go," said Sumbry.

WSFA 12 News has also learned that the Elmore County's sheriff, coroner, commissioners and district attorney also met Wednesday to discuss the situation. They'll meet again Friday and make a decision on what to do next.

Autauga County's Sheriff Herbie Johnson has met once with county commissioners but that county hasn't made any decisions yet either. "We'll cross that bridge when we come to it," Johnson said.

Counties were put into a tight spot last week when Governor Riley's office declared proration. The Department of Forensic Sciences was forced to slash 10% of its budget, or $1.4 million.

DFS will pull its vans off the road starting on January 19th.