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Sen. Burns files legislation addressing transport of deceased from fatal vehicle scenes

OKLAHOMA CITY – Sen. George Burns, R-Pollard, has filed Senate Bill 1123, calling for a change in the way motor vehicle accident deaths are handled.

Under current statute, once law enforcement has completed their investigation, the body cannot be moved from the scene until a medical examiner (ME) has arrived and conducted their own investigation. Burns said this is a statewide problem with not enough MEs available for all 77 counties. This can result in hours-long delays before the body can be moved. 

Burns said he was contacted by a constituent after a fatal accident last summer in his district.

“This bill is about dignity for those who have lost their lives in a car accident, as well as reducing trauma for their loved ones,” Burns said. “Family members had arrived on the scene long before the medical examiner, and it was a very distressing situation for them as they waited hours for the body to finally be removed from the accident site.”

Burns also noted that while the family waited for their loved one to be transported, a massive traffic back up occurred, causing more danger on the roadway than necessary.

"These traumatic situations and dangerous traffic build ups are happening because we don't have enough MEs to properly cover each county," Burns said. “We need to address this issue for the benefit of law enforcement, first responders, families, and MEs.”

SB 1123 would allow EMTs to transport deceased individuals, upon completion of a thorough law enforcement investigation, to a hospital where the medical examiner would complete their work. This would enable law enforcement to clear the accident scene more quickly.

The bill will be considered when the 2022 legislative session convenes in February.

For more information, contact Sen. George Burns at 405-521-5614 or email