Sheriff: Tuscaloosa County needs a coroner

Sheriff: Tuscaloosa County needs a coroner
(Source: WBRC Video)

TUSCALOOSA COUNTY, AL (WBRC) - A lot of people might not know that Tuscaloosa County doesn't have a medical examiner or coroner. And it's costing the county big.

Tuscaloosa County pays the State of Alabama nearly $240,000 every year for a medical examiner service.

Tuscaloosa County Sheriff Ron Abernathy met with county commissioners Friday about how the county can get a coroner or examiner of their own.

How much money spent isn't the only downfall of not having a coroner in Tuscaloosa County. Bad traffic is a result of it, too.

"You seen it out here on the interstate where you may have an interstate blocked for hours if there is a body is there," said Abernathy. "I can't even fathom how those families have to feel."

The sheriff said because there's no medical examiner or coroner in Tuscaloosa County, when there is a traffic death someone from the Alabama Department of Forensic Sciences has to come all the way from Montgomery.

"How long it takes to remove that body to get them away from that scene is what we really need to get addressed here and that's what the commission and myself are working to find a better more efficient way of doing it," said Abernathy.

The sheriff said they're looking at local options where they can work with the state, a coroner service or funeral homes.

"That's crazy. You think a county a size of Tuscaloosa would have a coroner," said Devon Swindle.

Tuscaloosa County did have a coroner about a decade ago, but that position was cut due to lack of money.

The sheriff is also exploring the idea of what it would take to get a regional medical examiner including surrounding counties like Hale and Pickens.

Copyright 2018 WBRC. All rights reserved.