Police in Fargo retrieve body from cab of semi-trailer parked at gas station – InForum

FARGO – On Monday, June 17, a semi-truck driver was found dead in the cab of his truck outside a gas station in Fargo.

Fargo police, Fargo Fire Department and the Cass County Coroner's Office responded to the Petro Travel Center, 4510 19th Ave. S., shortly after 11 a.m. Monday for a report of a man who had died in his semi-trailer. Tara Hobbs, a semi-trailer driver from Ocean Shores, Wash., watched from her semi-trailer as rescue workers removed the body of a man from the sleeper cab of a blue semi-trailer.

The semi-trailer the man was found in had been sitting in the truck parking lot since Wednesday, Hobbs said. The forum spoke to her shortly after officers left the scene of the accident.

When a reporter interviewed Hobbs, the blue semi-trailer was still parked in the truck parking lot southwest of the Petro supermarket.

Fargo police confirmed the death and said the investigation was continuing. The man's name, age or where he lived were not released. He appeared to be in his 60s or 70s, she said.

The cause of death is unknown, police said in a statement. There is no suspicion of foul play, said Cass County Coroner Kriste Ross.

It is unclear when the man died, but a video Hobbs showed to the forum indicates that the man had likely been dead for several days.

Hobbs said she saw a man drive up to the scene in a red SUV before looking into the semi-truck. The man got out a few minutes later and called 911, she said.

Several police vehicles parked in front of her truck before driving to the blue semi, she said. After a medical examiner examined the body in the semi, police, medical examiners and firefighters worked to recover the man's body from the sleeper cab, she said.

The man was dragged head first while lying on his back, a video shows. Authorities placed a body bag around him, but it appeared to rise up in the middle of his torso, the video shows.

Hobbs said the body could have been pulled from the semi-trailer in a more dignified manner. Police and the medical examiner's office should have taken more measures to hide the body from view, she said.

“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.”

The coroner's office takes care to be respectful to the dead when recovering the body, Ross said. That includes covering the body or placing sheets or barriers to hide it from public view, she said.

In some situations, that's not possible, she said. Small, cramped spaces like a half-cabin can make it difficult to place a body in a body bag, she said.

“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.”

Hobbs said it was disturbing and depressing to watch the man being pulled from the semi-trailer and called authorities' handling of the man unprofessional. Her father was a funeral director, she said, adding she knows how to 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.”

Ross acknowledged that people were curious and may want to film authorities recovering a body.

“Whether they do that or not, 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 thanked the forum for bringing the matter to the department's attention, adding, “It serves as an important reminder to be mindful of our actions and maintain our professionalism.”

According to police Lt. Junell Krabbenhoft, Fargo police have notified the trucking company and the business where the truck is located of the situation, and the trucking company is working on a way to retrieve it.

Anna Harden

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