LAS VEGAS - A Nevada Highway Patrol trooper issued a warning to a driver transporting a corpse in the carpool lane and it’s raising legal questions on social media.
On Monday, Trooper Travis Smaka noticed a gray Town and Country minivan with a single person driving in the HOV lane of the southbound Interstate 15 in Las Vegas, authorities said. He stopped the vehicle and the driver quickly told Smaka there was a deceased person in the back of the vehicle.
The driver worked for a mortuary and was transporting the body to a funeral home.
The department released bodycam footage that shows Smaka stopping the vehicle and speaking with the driver.
“So next time he won’t count. He won’t count, right?” the driver asked.
Smaka chuckled and told the driver no. “He is not with us anymore,” Smaka said.
According to the highway patrol, troopers have been working to make sure HOV lanes are being used properly in the area.
Since the story circulated on social media, the department said it’s raised some “interesting legal questions” regarding whether a dead person counts in a carpool lane.
“Nevada state law doesn’t specifically state the person has to be alive, but when it comes to carpool lane restrictions, the statute is talking about seats being occupied,” the department said in a statement.
The statement went on to add that the body was in the rear of the minivan, which was equipped with a rail and gurney to hold coffins, similar to what hearses contain.
“While we are sure this will be debated for a long time, our takeaway is if you’re not a mortuary and you get stopped by a trooper for driving in the HOV lane with a dead body in your car, the HOV lane violation is going to be the least of your concerns,” the statement said.
This story was reported from Los Angeles.