Here’s more proof the famous Las Vegas marketing phrase “What Happens Here, Stays Here” is a bald-faced lie. News, first broken two days ago by local media, that the Nevada Highway Patrol stopped a hearse riding in a two-person-minimum high occupancy vehicle lane with a live driver and a dead body has received insane publicity elsewhere.
By my review of the Internet, scores of media outlets outside of Las Vegas and indeed Nevada have picked up on the story that the hearse driver claimed he thought he was in compliance with the law because there was a second passenger, albeit not alive. The range is immense and varied.
Some examples: CNN, Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Vosizneias,com (an orthodox Jewish news site in New York City), Los Angeles Times, Daily Oklahoman in Oklahoma City, Michigan’s Iosco County News-Herald, and TV stations in Portland, Ore., Lafayette, La., New Haven, Conn., Tampa, Fla., and Harrisburg, Pa. (which classified it under the subheading “Weird”). Many outlets used an Associated Press account.
Drivers caught trying to get around carpool lane rules by using inflatable dummies, rolled-up blankets or even pets are news-media staples. But you’d almost think from all this attention that no one has ever been caught using a dead body to avoid HOV rules. You’d also be wrong. In 1990, the Los Angeles Times reported on such a case, also involving a hearse, that was later cited by Reader’s Digest.
So as someone New To Las Vegas, I think the main reason this story is getting all this pickup is that it happened in Las Vegas. It’s the town that openly promotes itself as the place where anything goes. So really stupid stuff gets magnified.
Do you really think such an incident would get this kind of wide coverage if it happened in Milwaukee, Philadelphia or Houston? In those places, what happens there truly often does stay there.