Case of dead man riding haunts ambulance service
"I'm still alive. I'm not paying it," the Burringbar resident and keen bike rider said.
It was Mr Karam's fondness of riding pushbikes which possibly started a macabre comedy of errors over Easter when he took a short holiday on the Gold Coast.
On Easter Saturday, the body of a cyclist initially thought to be aged between 40 and 50 was found beside his bike on an isolated stretch of the Pottsville-Mooball Road, 3km west of the Cudgera Creek Road intersection.
"A bloke who knows me came along and identified him as me," said Mr Karam, who works in the parts department at Hayes Toyota in Murwillumbah.
Police then went to Mr Karam's Burringbar address, but finding no one at home were told by neighbours he was on holidays.
Neighbours then directed police to Mr Karam's mother-in-law, who lives nearby, for the painful task of breaking the news of his supposed death.
"They said unfortunately I had been killed in a pushbike accident on the Pottsville-Mooball Road," he said.
"She said 'no he hasn't, he's up at Tallebudgera."
The deceased cyclist was identified the following Wednesday as a 54-year-old Pottsville man.
On Tuesday this week, however, Mr Karam was slugged with a bill for $517.03 from the NSW Ambulance Service.
It was addressed to his estate and was for taking his body from Pottsville to the Tweed Hospital.
Initially the bill was for $1102.13, but a $605.10 discount was included, which Mr Karam assumed was for being dead.
A spokesperson for the NSW Ambulance Service yesterday said Mr Karam's bill had been waived and an apology issued.