LOS ANGELES (FOX 11) - Shocking video caught on a cell phone shows a Los Angeles County Medical Examiner's office supervisor drunk driving and nearly causing multiple head-on collisions while behind the wheel of her county-owned Coroner's van.
One family says her arrest resulted in a gap in leadership and played a part in the wrongful cremation of their son. That family is now suing Los Angeles County for negligence.
It happened on June 1, 2016 in the 14 Freeway in Kern County, but we're now seeing the video of the incident that sparked the unfortunate chain of events.
The video allegedly shows a Coroner's office supervisor named Julie Kellerman driving drunk behind the wheel of a Coroner's van that's driving on the wrong side of the road nearly colliding head-on into oncoming traffic at least twice.
A LA County Coroner’s supervisor caught on video allegedly drunk behind the wheel! Blew 3x legal limit & was put on leave. At 10pm, you’ll hear why one family says the supervisor’s arrest led to the accidental cremation of their loveD one. They’re suing for negligence. @FOXLA pic.twitter.com/oAcDgoGCm4— Bill Melugin (@BillFOXLA) June 19, 2019
She's eventually pulled over by the California Highway Patrol and appears to resist arrest when the officer tries to detain her. She ends up being taken to the ground. According to a police report, Kellerman blew a 0.26 and a 0.25 -- both more than three times the legal limit. She was charged with DUI and obstructing a police officer.
On dashcam video from the CHP officer's patrol vehicle, she could be heard crying and pleading with that officer.
Kellerman was placed on leave for months after her arrest and according to Attorney Luis Carrillo, that set in motion events that left to a major mistake.
Carrillo represents the family of Jorge Hernandez whose body was mistakenly cremated by the Coroner's Office while Kellerman was on leave. Carrillo says Kellerman's arrest left the Coroner's Office management short-staffed, which led to paperwork mistakes with Hernandez's body.
Hernandez's family is asking for damages and is waiting for the lawsuit to go to a jury. As for Kellerman, it's unclear what her employment status is with the Coroner's Office. A spokesman for the office told Fox 11 reporter Bill Melugin that it's a personnel matter and they have no comment.