OKLAHOMA CITY – The governor has signed legislation allowing a responding law enforcement officer to authorize the removal of a body from a car accident scene after specific parameters have been met. Sen. George Burns, R-Pollard, was the author of the measure.
Under current law, a body may not be moved from the scene of an accident until a medical examiner (ME) has arrived and investigated, even if law enforcement has already conducted their own investigation. SB 1123 gives law enforcement officers the authorization to remove the body when it’s determined to be in the public interest and conditions at the scene are adequately documented and preserved by photographs and measurements.
“This was a constituent request bill after a citizen was killed in a car accident but wasn’t removed from the scene for hours due to waiting for the medical examiner,” Burns said. “These families are already traumatized, and I cannot imagine the agony of seeing a loved one in these circumstances. This legislation will allow law enforcement to release the body as soon as the scene has been properly documented, expediting the process of moving a victim while preserving the dignity of all involved. This will also play a role in increasing public safety by reducing traffic backups that could cause further accidents.”
Rep. Rick West, R-Heavener, was the House author of the measure.
“This will help those of us who live in rural areas of the state,” West said. “Instead of having to wait sometimes hours for a medical examiner to arrive, law enforcement will be authorized to document the scene and remove the body of a deceased person. I’m glad to have helped gain passage of this important law.”
The law will go into effect on Nov. 1.