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Body of truck driver pulled from truck cab in front of “live audience” days after passing

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The body of a deceased truck driver was removed from his truck cab days after his passing as a crowd of people watched at a Petro in Fargo on Monday. 

The unidentified driver was found on Monday, June 17th at the Petro Travel Center on 4510 19th Ave. S. in Fargo, North Dakota. 

According to WDAY News, the blue semi truck had been parked at the Petro since Wednesday, June 12th when a man in a red SUV pulled up to the rig and peered inside. The man then walked away from the rig and called 911, said Tara Hobbs, a truck driver from Washington who was at the truck stop at the time. 

A medical examiner and other first responders then arrived at the scene and examined the body before working to remove the man from the truck cab. The man has not been identified, but Hobbs says he appeared to be in his 60s or 70s, and that he appeared to have been dead for several days. 

According to police body cam footage and video filmed by Hobbs, the truck driver’s body was dragged from the truck cab head first by authorities, which caused the body bag to bunch up around his torso. Hobbs says that the whole process was undignified and disrespectful to the deceased man. 

“They should have put him in an emergency kit first and then pulled him out,” she said. “Instead, they pulled him out and there was a live audience.”

Hobbs says her father was a funeral director, and she grew up being taught how to respectfully handle dead bodies. 

“I don’t care if you’re a truck driver or not,” she said. “That’s no way to treat a human being. If it weren’t for us, you wouldn’t have food or a meal in your refrigerator.”

Despite the criticism, Cass County Coroner Kriste Ross said the team was just doing their best to remove the body in a cramped situation. 

“We are doing our best to get them deported,” Ross said. “Sometimes it’s difficult considering the situation they’re in and how long they’ve been there. We try to respect the deceased and their family by at least trying to protect them if we can,” she said. “People have a choice whether they want to sit and watch.”

Fargo Police Chief Zibolski has since acknowledged the criticism of the department’s recovery of the body, and says that “it serves as an important reminder to be mindful of our actions and maintain our professionalism.”

The trucking company has been notified of the incident, and is working on recovering the semi truck. The driver’s identity and cause of death has not been released, but Ross says there is no suspicion of foul play.

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