A corpse doesn't count?: hearse driver caught using carpool lane

Passengers need to be alive to qualify for the "high occupancy vehicle" lanes common across the US (AFP Photo/Tim Boyles)

Los Angeles (AFP) - A hearse driver transporting a corpse was stopped by police for using a carpool lane in the US state of Nevada -- but let off with a warning after he claimed it counted as a passenger.

Police officer Travis Smaka told CNN how he flagged down a gray van on Monday when he spotted its driver using a lane reserved for vehicles with at least two people on board.

"The driver informed me that he had someone who was deceased in the back of the vehicle," Smaka said.

Upon inspection, the Chrysler minivan had been decked out like a funeral car, including a rail and gurney holding the body.

"So, he doesn't count in the back?" the driver asked.

Smaka explained that passengers need to be alive to qualify for the "high occupancy vehicle" lanes common across the US, but agreed to let the driver off with a warning.

"It just threw me off," he told the television network, adding that it was one of the "more interesting responses" he had heard.