Sheriff: Marion County Coroner's Office contractor had tissue samples in truck during OWI arrest

MORGAN COUNTY, Ind. -- A pathologist contracted by the Marion County Coroner's Office was arrested for driving while intoxicated Tuesday evening in Morgan County. 

Elmo Griggs, 75, was arrested around 10 p.m. Police say he was carrying totes filled with human tissue samples in the back of his truck at the time of his arrest. 

Griggs is a pathologist who is contracted by the Marion County Coroner's office, according to Marion County Chief Deputy Coroner Alfarena Ballew. 

"Dr. Griggs is a pathology vendor for the Marion County Coroner's Office who provides autopsy services as needed," said Ballew. "He is not an employee and was not providing or performing any services for our office at this time."

Court documents say that Griggs was so intoxicated he could barely hold himself up once he got out of his vehicle for police. He also failed multiple field sobriety tests and he blew a blood-alcohol level of .154 on the Portable Breath Test done by police at the scene. 

Call 6 sources say there were several totes in the back of Griggs' truck, all of them containing tissue samples. 

"The tissue that was reportedly found in the vehicle did not belong to any Marion County cases,' said Ballew. "Our pathology vendors do not remove tissue from our facility." 

They were handed over to Morgan County Coroner Annette Rohlman who says that it is not uncommon for pathologists to transport body parts and specimens in their vehicle. 

Griggs is not facing any charges in reference to those totes of tissue. 

"It seems like the the samples were properly handled," said Steve Sonnega, Morgan County prosecutor. "There's no concern of any biohazard issues.Where they came from and where they were being transported, i can't answer that."

The Marion County Coroner's office has suspended contact with Dr. Griggs pending further review, according to Ballew. 

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