07/14/2014 at 11:30 AM EDT
A dead body on a gurney fell out of a coroner's van when a door malfunctioned, sending the corpse into the middle of a busy roadway in Pennsylvania.
The Bucks County Courier Times
reports the accident happened around noon on Friday near a shopping center in Feasterville, Pennsylvania.
A photo on the newspaper's website shows the corpse, wrapped in what appears to be a white sheet, lying in the street as cars buzz by. The Bucks County Coroner's Office says the driver realized immediately that the door had opened and retrieved the body within minutes. The office says it "deeply regrets" the incident.
A passerby who helped get the body into the van says he thought it was a prank, calling it "the most bizarre thing" he'd ever seen.
The Philadelphia coroner says the transport vehicle involved in the incident was supposed to be taken out of service later this month and replaced.
Bucks County Coroner Joseph Campbell said the vehicle's age and accumulated wear and tear were to blame for the accident, which he called "a horrible thing."
He promised Sunday that his office would immediately put into effect new "double and triple" checks on its transport vehicles.