By on February 23, 2018

There’s a funeral home not far from my house. On my way to drop off an anniversary present for my daughter-in-law, I drove past their hearse, which appeared to be pulled over by a member of the local constabulary. How often do you see a hearse pulled over by a cop? I drove down the street, made a couple of “Michigan lefts” on the boulevarded highway and stopped to snap a few pics.

To be honest, I don’t know if it was a traffic stop. Both the police SUV and the hearse were in the leftmost of three lanes, just past a traffic turnaround where they could have pulled over out of traffic, so it might have been a mechanical issue with the professional car, though the hearse’s emergency flashers were not on. From the location, the driver of the hearse was likely on the way back to the shop from doing a pickup of a body at a nearby hospital. It’s an orthodox Jewish funeral home, and Jews bury their dead quickly, within 24 hours of death if possible, so it’s also possible that the driver was in a rush.

Either way, death notwithstanding, it makes for a humorous picture. I can just imagine the police officer greeting the driver with, “Where you going so fast? Your passenger is in no hurry.”

Provide your own captions in the comments.

[Images: Ronnie Schreiber/TTAC]

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42 Comments on “Late For His Own Funeral?...”


  • avatar
    Sub-600

    The cop had him dead to rights.

    • 0 avatar
      Lou_BC

      I’m sure the cop was dying to know what the excuse would be!

      • 0 avatar
        sgeffe

        Or it could have been all a grave misunderstanding!

        But if not, one wonders what sort of investigation was undertaken to find out the whole story! Hopefully they didn’t bury the prosecution with evidence, but left no stone unturned all the same!

        • 0 avatar
          RHD

          Hearses are so nice that people are just dying to get in them.

          Three year old boy points (true story) as his mother drives by a cemetery: “Look, Mommy. That’s where all the dead people live!”

  • avatar
    Detroit-X

    Really?

    ROBERT FARAGO? WHERE ARE YOU? TTAC NEEDS HELP!

  • avatar
    Nick 2012

    More importantly, is the grey car next to the black Impala a Holden-badged Chevy SS?

  • avatar
    gasser

    “Drive him fast to his tomb”. (With apologies to Charles Dickens and “A Tale of Two Cities”)

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    “Sir, Popeye’s has a parking lot; you’re blocking traffic here.”

  • avatar
    stuki

    LA cops harass hearses, or at least retired ones bought by surfers, all the time.

  • avatar
    haroldingpatrick

    I don’t have a caption but I did once see a hearse underway in a funeral procession get in an accident. I was sitting at a red light on a side street to a main road behind a lady who apparently didn’t notice the procession coming. The light turned green just as the hearse entered the intersection, running the red light. She punches it across the intersection without looking and runs right into the side of the hearse without ever hitting the brakes. It’s a fading cultural norm in the South for traffic to stop and yield to funeral processions out of respect for the dead and their family so funeral processions generally don’t stop once the convoy has entered an intersection – everyone going to the cemetery just keeps going even if the light is red and everyone else just sits tight out of respect. The hearse should have stopped but I still can’t fathom how she didn’t realize a crash was happening and try to stop – there was a 20 foot long black hearse right in front of her! Even though she didn’t make sure the intersection was clear before crossing, she could have stopped in time if she stood on the brakes. You can imagine the chaos that ensued after the accident – I truly feel sorry for the poor LEO who had to sort this one out. I gave him a statement since I saw it happen right in front of me but I never heard anything from anyone so I guess they resolved things somehow.

    • 0 avatar
      JohnTaurus

      Call me what you will, but when I stop for a funeral procession, I can’t stop from tearing up. I don’t know the person, but it still gets me.

      Maybe it’s because I have lost so many people in the past few years.

      Needless to say, I always pull over and wait, even if its a divided highway and they’re on the other side. The last time this happened, a lady in a white E-350 behind me got out of the van and held her hand on her heart.

      Yes, I live in the deep South.

      • 0 avatar
        haroldingpatrick

        John, if I’m not mistaken you are in or from SC. This happened about 10 years ago in Lyman, SC at the intersection of SC 129 and SC 292. We were stopped on SC 292 and she was trying to go to the Citgo gas station on the other side of the intersection. Why she felt the need to accelerate so hard just to pull into a gas station, I have no idea.

        I stop as well. I attended my aunt’s funeral two weeks ago in Beckley, WV and most folks stopped for us. A little sympathetic kindness doesn’t cost anything.

  • avatar
    JREwing

    That hearse is over 20 years old. The fact that it’s not completely decrepit after 20+ Michigan winters (and the accompanying bad Michigan roads) says a lot for how that funeral home maintains their fleet.

    • 0 avatar
      sgeffe

      I couldn’t tell from the picture if that’s a DTS conversion, or a post-refresh Fleetwood Brougham (when they got dual airbags and the better-integrated side mirrors — ‘94+, maybe).

      • 0 avatar
        MRF 95 T-Bird

        It’s the 92-96 Fleetwood Brougham. I think its the last of any vehicle with the Brougham moniker. You can tell by its size, the wheels unique to that model and the large cornering lamps.
        When you meet you maker might as well go out in a Brougham.

    • 0 avatar
      krhodes1

      At least in Maine, the hearses don’t get a lot of use in winter. They are typically ONLY used for burials, and burials generally wait until spring with exceptions – a big one being Jewish folks, as Ronnie notes. I would imagine that Michigan is similar – even though a backhoe can dig a frozen grave, who wants to have the graveside service in the bitter cold?

      I worked for a funeral home in my mispsent youth as one of my high school buddy’s family owned it. This would have been about 1988, thier two hearses were ’69 and ’70 Cadillacs, and I doubt either of them had more than 5K on them. For day-to-day body transport, you use the “service cars” which at the time were a trio of Buick Electra station wagons, and today are usually either Suburbans, full-size vans, or Chrysler minivans. The only time the hearse would roll in the winter was if there were more than three bodies to fetch at once, or the very, very rare burial. And it was washed immediately upon return to the funeral home. Actually, they were washed everytime they left the yard.

      I may or may not be able to say that a ’69 Cadillac hearse would lay rubber pretty much as long as the driver kept his foot in it. Nobody saw anything, you can’t prove anything… ;-) Also had the fastest power windows ever made by man.

      And I once had a police escort in one of the service cars with the body of a shooting victim. Electras got mighty floaty at 100mph.

      • 0 avatar
        kefkafloyd

        My father died last February, and we did bury him in what amounted to the dead of winter. Snow on the ground and everything. This was in western Massachusetts. We weren’t outdoors for very long, only for the actual burial. The real service was held in our church. Having to navigate a casket on icy asphalt as a pallbearer was a learning experience, even with it on a rolling carrier.

        The fine folks at [redacted] are still equipped with mid-2000s Panther-body Lincoln limousines and late DTS-era hearses which we had in our procession. I know they still have one Fleetwood but I don’t think it sees regular use. These cars are maintained to white-glove standards and used for presentational services so they last a real long time. The actual hard-working, less glamorous hearses are minivans and Suburbans like you said. I think when push comes to shove they’d get XTS hearses when the DTS ones have their own funerals.

      • 0 avatar
        sgeffe

        Last week, my parents and I went up to see some of the family graves (including my Grandmother’s) but couldn’t get into the section because of ongoing sewer work.

        Entering the cemetery, we were behind a long procession where the directors had apparently run out of vehicle flags, as the last few cars had their hazards on. We couldn’t help but notice a flower car in the procession, which pulled up in front of the mausoleum where commitals are held: a gen-you-wine 1959 Cadillac Fleetwood conversion. Absolutely mint! I suspect the reason for the mausoleum services is the fact that it’d be awkward, at least, because of the location (detailed in a thread below), when the graveside service could possibly be interrupted by a Gulfstream or Cessna Citation on short final! (Heck, all of the trees in the back third of the cemetery were cut down in the 1990s when Southwest Airlines flew 737s into City Airport; you couldn’t get back into that section of the cemetery without an escort during parts of the day because the runway safety zone was extended into that part of the cemetery during SWA flight operations.)

        I wonder if there’s specific laws pertaining to what needs to be done on vehicles in a funeral procession? At my Grandmother’s funeral, the director had everyone put their brights on, while at my aunt’s funeral a couple years back, they only specified headlights (though the procession was into a rural area just outside Romeo, MI).

  • avatar
    Aron9000

    I was about to say that is a properly nice hearse. One of the last big Cadillac hearses, based on the body on frame Fleetwood Brougham. Newer Cadillac hearses are kind of crap, based on the smaller Deville chassis or god forbid an Escalade. I will haunt my family if my last ride is in a damn Escalade hearse.

    • 0 avatar
      Compaq Deskpro

      Still more proper than Lincoln MKT “Town Car” hearse. Ugh!

      https://www.fleet.ford.com/showroom/speciality-vehicle/lincoln-town-car-funeral/

      • 0 avatar
        kefkafloyd

        GM sells XTS chassis to Coachbuilders to make hearses, which I think would be preferable to that Lincoln in almost any circumstance.

        https://www.gmfleet.com/cadillac/professional-vehicles/coachbuilder-hearse.html

        The example they show here is not very attractive (due to the lack of two-tone paint, tuxedo top, or some way to differentiate the height of the hearse roof) but if you look at actual examples they tend to look a lot classier.

  • avatar
    OneAlpha

    “Where you going so fast? Your passenger is in no hurry.”

    You sure? Maybe he was. You never know.

  • avatar
    sgeffe

    Interesting story about my Grandmother’s funeral procession last November. Started from Grosse Pointe Woods, and up 7 Mile to Gethsemane Cemetery at the southern end of the northwest-southeast runway at City (Coleman Young) Airport, off Gratiot and Conner.

    As we were approaching the intersection to turn off 7 Mile, a Detroit Police cruiser went blasting by the procession like we were standing still, lights and siren. As we got close to the traffic light, we saw why: the cop was blocking the intersection in order for the procession to go through.

    I didn’t think to ask the funeral director if they prearranged that or not. (I would be surprised if the Detroit Police had the resources to do that sort of thing.)

    Whether the route we took was to avoid glopping-up traffic on Conner or Gratiot, I don’t know, but the back way we took to get onto Gratiot well east of the airport was a classic study of modern Detroit, with several blocks of third world-looking neighborhoods interspersed with fields which were formerly blocks of houses.

  • avatar
    golden2husky

    Could be a few things. The driver could be new at his job and has not had a chance to rehearse. Or the cop thought his driving was appalling- more than he could bear – hence the stop.

  • avatar
    Mike-NB

    I’m surprised that the funeral home is using such an old hearse. Most funeral homes around where I live tend to keep their cars much newer. The thing I can’t figure out is why they never call me to offer me one of their hand-me-downs on the cheap. I’m a Lincoln man myself, but I’d have no shame in tooling around in a Cadillac hearse.

    Speaking of around here, Continentals in the wild are rare so it’s cool to see one in the wild somewhere.

    • 0 avatar
      JohnTaurus

      I was standing in front of a store waiting on my boyfriend the other day, and there was a white Continental parked up front. These two older ladies (mid 50s to 60s) were walking towards their GMC Denali were quite impressed by it. One went walking around and I heard her say “oh, its a Continental!” and they continued to admire it for a little while until proceeding to their vehicle.

      It is a beautiful car, but I bet the next one will be even more stunning and better executed. Also, I’m sure it’ll be RWD.

  • avatar
    Sub-600

    If I’m not mistaken, Herman Munster got pulled over once in his modified hearse. I think it was a supercharged Ford V-8 or some crazy thing.

  • avatar
    rmwill

    Pothole victim at Greenfield and Lincoln. Howdy neighbor.

    • 0 avatar

      I live east of Greenfield, off of Lincoln, but if I can wait, I won’t get into the right line until the pavement sort of smoothes out in the last 50 feet or so. I’m pretty sure that I broke a radial belt on one of my tires on a pothole there last week. Second tire I’ve ruined this winter. The potholes are the worst I’ve seen in over 40 years of winter driving. I have 16″ rims and 55 series tires, fairly conservative by today’s standards. AAA must be paying lots of claims.

      • 0 avatar
        sgeffe

        The potholes in the Toledo area are also really bad this year; in some areas, worse than 2013-4 or 2014-5, whichever was the colder of the two!!

        Just as with Michigan, they’ve let the roads go too long, enough that one bad winter necessitates a hurry-up resurfacing of miles of roadway — a “mill and fill” doesn’t cut it!

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