UPDATED ON 6: Coroner’s Lawsuit Against Aiken County Being Heard In Court Wednesday

No Decision In Aiken County Coroner Transport Company Case (Image 1)

***UPDATED at 4:57 P.M. on Wednesday, May 6th***

Aiken County Coroner Tim Carlton is suing Aiken County, and Wednesday, both parties appeared in a Barnwell County courtroom.

The issue at stake is whether Carlton has the authority to use an outside company to transport bodies.

Both parties wanted to have the hearing in a neutral place since this case is an elected official versus the county in which he works.

Carlton is suing the county because he wants to use a transportation service that his office has been using for years, Rucker Removal Services, which works with the Coroner to remove bodies from the scene and then transport the bodies to the autopsy lab.

The county wants to use another company out of Lexington, South Carolina because it is cheaper, but Carlton wants to keep using Rucker because he has an established relationship with the company.

“He wants control of his office. The county is trying to utilize the procurement services in a way to choose who the Coroner is going to work with. And, we think the Coroner, as an elected official, answers to the people and the people put him in that position so that he could then run his office. Administrators shouldn’t run the Coroner’s Office,” Carlton’s attorney Sandy Senn told us.

But, the county does have the authority to set the Coroner’s Office budget and Wednesday morning, county officials said that transportation services should have to go through the bidding process just like everyone else. Meanwhile, Rucker Removal Services says the county hasn’t paid them in a year and come May 15th, they won’t be able to transport bodies anymore.

“Right, and so at that point, you have the Coroner, with his limited equipment and limited personnel, who would be in a fix to try to figure out how to get deceased bodies moved around the county,” Senn added.

Carlton’s legal team wants the judge to unfreeze the transportation funding so he can pay Rucker Removal Services the more than $40,000 the company says it’s owed.

Both parties are being asked to send their documents in by 5:00 p.m. on Monday.

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***UPDATED at 12:07 P.M. on Wednesday, May 6th***

Aiken County Coroner Tim Carlton is suing Aiken County, and Wednesday, both parties appeared in a Barnwell County courtroom.

The issue at stake is whether Carlton has the authority to use an outside company to transport bodies.

Both parties wanted to have the hearing in a neutral place since this case is an elected official versus the county in which he works.

Carlton is suing the county because he wants to use a transportation service that his office has been using for years, Rucker Removal Services, which works with the Coroner to remove bodies from the scene and then transport the bodies to the autopsy lab.

The county wants to use another company out of Lexington, South Carolina because it is cheaper, but Carlton wants to keep using Rucker because he has an established relationship with the company.

“He wants control of his office. The county is trying to utilize the procurement services in a way to choose who the Coroner is going to work with. And, we think the Coroner, as an elected official, answers to the people and the people put him in that position so that he could then run his office. Administrators shouldn’t run the Coroner’s Office,” Carlton’s attorney Sandy Senn told us.

Rucker Removal Services has continued to work for the Coroner despite the county signing an agreement with another company. However, they will stop doing so on May 15th, which means the Aiken County Coroner’s Office won’t have the means to transport bodies.

We’ll have more on the proceeding from our Mike Miller as more information becomes available online and on WJBF News Channel 6 at 5:00 p.m. and 6:00 p.m.

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***POSTED at 11:25 A.M. on Wednesday, May 6th***

A hearing is being held Wednesday that could decide which company will remove bodies in Aiken County.

Coroner Tim Carlton is making his case in a Barnwell County Courthouse.

Coroner Suing Aiken County Council Over Transportation Funding

Carlton wants to keep contracting with local company Rucker Removal Service, but the Aiken County Council wants to use a cheaper service from Lexington, South Carolina.

Carlton’s attorney says it’s not just about the money, but about the training and the knowledge of the area.

The employees at Rucker Removal Service have been deputized and they reportedly know how the investigative process works in Aiken County.

Our Mike Miller is at the courthouse and he will provide more information as it becomes available.

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