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Dead Man Billed $500 for Removal of His Corpse

“I’m dumbfounded, frankly, with the whole thing,” says the stepdaughter of a Michigan man who was pronounced dead at the scene of an accident last month, then billed for removal of his body. “They billed my dad knowing he was dead.”

Rebecca Beck posted a snapshot of the $500 bill Mackinaw City officials sent to her deceased stepfather to recover costs associated with the removal of his body from an accident scene. (Screenshot: Facebook)
Rebecca Beck posted a snapshot of the $500 bill Mackinaw City officials sent to her deceased stepfather to recover costs associated with the removal of his body from an accident scene. (Screenshot: Facebook)

Fire officials in the northern Michigan community of Mackinaw City have apologized for a faux pas that may end them all: They billed a man killed in a car accident $500 for the removal of his own body from a crash scene.

“I’m dumbfounded, frankly, with the whole thing,” Rebecca Beck, the stepdaughter of the deceased man, told  WPBN-WTO. “They billed my dad knowing that he was dead, because they removed his corpse … And, frankly, I just couldn’t believe it.”

Carl Norman Little, 64, of Gladstone was pronounced dead at the scene of June 23 accident on Interstate 75.

The Village of Mackinaw City said on its web site that it has apologized to the family and has taken steps to avoid similar situations in the future.

Michigan law allows emergency responders to recover their costs, but the bill should have been sent to Little’s insurance company,

Beck shared a snapshot of the bill on her Facebook page and it has since been shared nearly 20,000 times. The photo went viral before she had a chance to tell Mackinaw City officials about the gaffe.

“The … public actually did it for me, and they kind of took it out of my hands so I didn’t have to deal with it,” Beck told WPBN-WTO, adding “the support of the community actually got the bill dealt with.”

A Grand Rapids fire official told WXMI that billing for services is not unusual.

“The cost recovery has become a way that fire departments take care of things in Michigan,” Deputy Chief Kevin Sehlmeyer of the Grand Rapids Fire Department said. “It’s pretty common. In this case, I understand why the family is not happy about receiving this bill, but it is in fact a way for fire departments to get revenue so they can continue to provide services.”

In his community, bills are tossed out in responses involving a fatality.

Beck told WXMI that she understands the Mackinaw City Fire Department needs to be paid.

“They’re very small departments…they don’t get a lot of tax dollars,” she said. “I just believe that they need to go about collecting the money in a different way.”


Carroll Straus July 19, 2014 at 01:28 PM
If a public service--such as a fire department-- is going to bill for public services, they need to be whomever is at fault. Dead or alive. But this should be a burden borne by taxpayers, not victims.
Cindy Halpern July 19, 2014 at 02:18 PM
After my mother died, she was billed for medications she could nave taken since she was dead.
sophia July 19, 2014 at 05:28 PM
MICHIGAN - say no more......
nunya July 20, 2014 at 09:46 AM
Why is this unbelievable? They provided a service and need to be paid!You frequently get bills for a deceased family member and the executor of the estate sees that they are paid.
Lee Jacobsen July 20, 2014 at 02:43 PM
Nunya, I agree with you. We also need to watch the bills while a family member is in the hospital, those little 'one minute' visits of "how are you?" by several doctors that I noted the names of increased the bill by an average of $400 per visit. I'm not a doctor, but the charges seemed steep. Of course, perhaps some of that extra charge covers the healthcare of illegals, who , despite being here uninvited , get sick like everyone else....

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