Police said that Washington returned to the mortuary to return the first van, body included, and took a different one, according to the Daily News.
An employee saw what was happening and tried to stop him, but he was nearly run over.
Police stopped him about 2 1/2 miles away.
Washington was charged with vehicle theft, assault with a deadly weapon and evading an officer. He was not charged with taking the body because he didn't mean to, police said.