Fatal crash discovered by ABC 6/FOX 28 news crew eight hours after impact
The mother of a passenger killed in a fatal crash this weekend remains shocked after police said the wreckage was left unattended for eight hours.
Lasharrah Jones was contacted at work Sunday and told that her son Dai'Juan Coates and family friend Allen Dowe died after Dowe's car slid off Interstate 71 south Saturday night and hit a tree. Police said a freeway camera caught Dowe speeding at eleven o'clock. At that time, detectives believe Dowe lost control, overcorrected and drove off the freeway. His car split in two upon impact.
At seven o'clock Sunday morning, an ABC 6/FOX 28 reporter and photographer spotted the wreckage and called the police. Jones now wonders if her son and friend died from the wreck or the weather. She questions if the two froze to death.
"Could he have been saved? Could they have been saved?" Jones asked.
Police believe no one could have survived a crash of that nature. However, an official cause of death won't be made until the final autopsy is complete. That could take up to three months.
Meanwhile, Jones said she tried to view her son's body herself at the coroner's office but the staff at the morgue refused her request. She said she's at a loss on whether to plan an open or closed casket at her son's funeral.
ABC 6/FOX 28 contacted Coroner Anahi Ortiz M.D. about her policy. This was her response.
"I am so sorry (the) mom does not understand our policy but the morgue is not a place family should view their loved one.
We have an extremely small morgue with no facility for viewing. In addition, on weekends and holidays, we have a limited number of staff working and our front office is closed. We always advise family to secure a funeral home as soon as possible so their loved one can be moved there soon after the autopsy and they may view the body at the funeral home. Funeral homes will have private spaces for viewing and some support for the family.
In terms of identification, law enforcement does the majority of identification before they come to us and they will reach out to the families. If there are questions on identification or how it was done we refer families back to either CPD or the Sheriff's Office."