Muscogee County coroner receives new state-of-the-art van

Published: Jul. 25, 2023 at 10:53 PM EDT
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COLUMBUS, Ga. (WTVM) - In Muscogee County, after months of having to transport bodies in U-Haul vans to Atlanta for autopsies, Coroner Buddy Bryan has received his new state of the art vehicle, which will serve your tax dollars more efficiently and give closure to grieving families faster.

“It’s state of the art, and something we’ve needed for a long time,” Bryan said. “In fact, we’re the envy of all the coroners in the state.”

Muscogee County coroners had been using its former van for at least 13 years... and it did develop problems.

“We have an old van and it had over 300,000 miles on it and the maintenance department actually took it out of service because it kept breaking down,” Bryan said. “It was dangerous to put out on the highway..”

Additionally, due to an increase in crime in the past few years, you may remember we previously told you about the coroner’s office struggling to have enough space to fit bodies in the van, resulting in them having to rent U-Hauls to transport the bodies to Atlanta for autopsies.

The new van, costing roughly $111,000, can fit double the number of bodies... four. This, saving tax payer money plus several other features that help preserve bodies from decomposing as fast.

“One of the best features is completely insulated on the inside and we have air conditioning system on the top of the van, so we’re able to transport our bodies in a cool state, rather than transporting them in a hot van,” Bryan explained.

As for crime labs in the Peach State, the number has lowered from five to three in recent years due to budget cuts.

Bryan explained the backlog that was so severe in 20-22 has gotten better, but he still has hopes one opens in the Fountain City: “We had five specific crime labs but now we have three. In fact, right next store to the morgue is the GBI building. The intention there was to have a crime lab there, and have the autopsies back and forth, but due to budge cuts and lack of forensic pathologists in the state, we’re having to go back and forth to Decatur.”

Overall, Bryan thanks the Columbus mayor and city council for approving this purchase and said it will definitely cut down costs in their budget and give families faster answers and closure when it comes to their loved ones being put to rest.