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Funeral employees fired after stopping for coffee with veteran’s body in hearse

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NEW PORT RICHEY, Fla. – A driver and a funeral director are out of work after they were caught parking a hearse at a doughnut shop.

“This guy stopped at Dunkin’ Donuts,” said Rob Carpenter.

The body of Army Lt. Col. Jesse Coleman was on the way to a funeral service when a driver and a funeral director decided to make a stop.

“What could they have been thinking? I haven’t got the foggiest idea,” said Jim Rudolph, the president of Veterans Funeral Care.

Rudolph says his core business is honoring veterans and the pit stop for a cup of coffee goes against that.

“That’s absolutely terrible. It’s not what we do. That’s absolutely a total lack of respect,” said Rudolph.

The picture of the stop went viral when the photographer shared his video with a veteran’s service group.

“That is one of my brothers or sisters,” said Lauren Price, with Veteran Warriors.

Price says when she saw the picture, she made a call to the funeral home.

“I was physically ill when I saw that and I was very upset,” she said. “I’ve been on funerals where we had to travel for four hours to do a funeral in full uniform in the dead of summer in Florida and we didn’t stop to get coffee. We didn’t stop for bathroom breaks. You just don’t do that.”

“It’s a rule, it’s understood. When a car is heading to a service, if there’s more than two people in it, then it doesn’t pull over,” said Rudolph.

After the incident, both employees were fired.

“I think if they had the ability to turn their day back, they’d do things differently,” he said.

Lt. Col. Coleman’s widow says she was disappointed by the coffee stop, but did not want the employees fired.

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