Two hearse drivers, assigned to transporting the body of a Korean and Vietnam War veteran to his funeral in Lecanto, Fla., Tuesday morning, have been fired after they were witnessed stopping at a Dunkin’ Donuts mid-trip.
Rob Carpenter spotted the American flag covering Lt. Col. Jesse Coleman’s coffin in the parking lot of a New Port Richey Dunkin Donuts and took photos and video that he sent to a local group, Veteran’s Warriors, who later uploaded the images to their Facebook page, the Associated Press reports.
Carpenter told WFLA, “I’m like, ‘Is this really a body in here?’ and he says, ‘Yes,’ and I said, ‘So you have a dead soldier in the back of your hearse and you’re stopping to get coffee?’ And he didn’t say anything.”
Veterans Funeral Care, who had prepared the hearse, later fired the two men, both longtime employees in their 70s, for leaving the vehicle unattended, president Jim Rudolph also told the TV station.
Rudolph apparently fired the two men despite pleas from Coleman’s widow to let the men keep their jobs. “I think if they had the ability to turn back the day, they’d do things different,” Rudolph told the AP.