CASEY COUNTY, Ky. (LEX 18)– A Central Kentucky coroner is refusing to transport dead bodies himself.
An unclaimed body at Casey County Hospital was taken to the morgue by EMS instead of the coroner last Friday night.
“We owe a big debt of gratitude to EMS for helping us out of this spot,” said Casey County Coroner Curt Demrow.
The scenario was the center of conversation at Monday night’s fiscal court meeting. In the meeting, the judge-executive said that the coroner informed him that he will no longer be transporting dead bodies.
“And I did respond. I did my duty as coroner. But for me to respond and be reimbursed $1.20 to use my vehicle that’s equipped to haul a body, with my equipment in it, I just told him I would not do that anymore. That was not sufficient,” said Demrow.
Demrow said he currently uses his own SUV as coroner, with all the necessary equipment, largely at his own expense. Instead of providing a van, the county reimburses him about 40 cents per mile, which Demrow is not nearly enough.
“It is the right thing for the county to either provide the coroner a vehicle, as many counties in our area do, or to reimburse me for my true expenses,” said Demrow.
Over the phone Thursday, Judge-Executive Randy Dial said that’s how it’s always been done in Casey County.
Last year, the coroner drove less than 1,000 miles, so Dial said it’s not feasible to buy a vehicle. Under Kentucky law, the county must provide funds for transporting bodies, but the coroner is only required to arrange it, not do it himself.
“I do understand and I do agree that I am an elected official and this is probably not the best light for me, but I feel like I’m standing up for what’s right and for all the other coroners in Kentucky that might be in the same situation as me,” Demrow said.
He told LEX 18 that he will stand his ground until things change.
President of the Kentucky Coroner’s Association Gary Ginn tells LEX 18 that it is not unprecedented for the coroner to only arrange transports.