Russell Co. votes on a temporary fix to transport bodies

RUSSELL COUNTY, AL  (WTVM) - State budget cuts are forcing Alabama counties to find extra money for transporting human remains to the crime lab for autopsies.  Wednesday morning Russell County Commissioners spent a great deal of time discussing the issue.

The commissioners voted five to one in favor of moving around $2,295 into the coroner's fuel budget, leaving his staff to transport human remains to Montgomery for autopsies.  This decision comes after the state forensics lab put the responsibility on the counties as of January 19th.

Russell County's temporary decision isn't sitting well with the county coroner.  "My duties are to investigate deaths and determine the cause of death.   The new responsibility isn't something I'm not ready to do.   It's going to make the situation difficult for us in the county if I or a deputy is taking a body to Montgomery.   I am just concerned if we are away and something else happens in the county," said Coroner Arthur Sumbry.

Sumbry says he will transport bodies until the commissioners come up with a plan.  He supports a suggestion by the county attorney, to have people or agencies requesting autopsies pick up the bill.