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Truck driver’s body pulled from cab in front of “live audience” days after his death

The body of a deceased truck driver was recovered from the cab days after his death as a crowd watched at a Petro in Fargo on Monday.

The unidentified driver was found on Monday, June 17, at the Petro Travel Center at 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 12, when a man in a red SUV pulled up to the truck and looked inside. The man then walked away from the truck and called 911, said Tara Hobbs, a Washington truck driver who was at the rest area at the time.

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

According to police body camera footage and a video filmed by Hobbs, officers dragged the truck driver’s body head first out of the cab, causing the body bag to wrap around his torso. Hobbs says the entire process was undignified and disrespectful to the deceased.

“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 there.”

Hobbs says her father was a funeral director and she was taught from a young age how to treat corpses with respect.

“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 simply doing its best to recover the body in cramped conditions.

“We’re 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’re trying to show respect to the dead and their family by at least trying to protect them if we can,” she said. “People have a choice if they want to just sit there and watch.”

Fargo Police Chief Zibolski has since acknowledged criticism of the police’s recovery of the body, saying: “It serves as an important reminder that we must be careful in our actions and maintain our professionalism.”

The trucking company has been notified of the incident and is working to recover the semi-trailer. The identity of the driver and cause of death have not yet been released, but Ross says foul play is not suspected.

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