Though the Harrison County Coroner’s Office said it’s still trying to contact the family of the man struck and killed by a Gulfport police cruiser Thursday night, authorities remain tight-lipped about how the accident occurred.
As of Friday night, there was still no official identification of the 54-year-old who was killed on U.S. 49. An autopsy was scheduled for Friday.
Coroner Gary Hargrove pronounced the man dead at the site of the accident at 6 p.m. The man was crossing 49 just north of Airport Road near Arby’s when a police cruiser hit him.
Both north- and southbound lanes of 49 between Airport and Creosote roads were shut down for several hours.
Following protocol, the Gulfport Police Department contacted the District Attorney’s Office, which requested the Biloxi Police Department to handle the investigation. Biloxi Police Chief John Miller said traffic reconstructionists are piecing the wreck together.
“We’re going to base everything on fact,” Miller said. “We’re going to look at everything.”
He said he was unaware if surveillance video from nearby businesses had been collected.
Miller said it’s “hard to nail down” how long the investigation will take but said it’ll likely take 30 to 60 days.
The man’s death has sparked debate over whether sidewalks or a pedestrian bridge would improve safety on that stretch of road. Witnesses said people cross the road often in the area where the man was killed.
The man was hit about 30 minutes after sunset. A reader recently informed the Sun Herald there were about 200 street lights not working on 49 between U.S. 90 and O’Neal Road.
“Entire intersections and blocks are not lighted,” the reader wrote.
It was raining heavily about the time of the wreck, although it’s impossible to know at this time that had anything to do with the accident.
When the investigation is completed, investigators will send their report to the DA’s office, who will determine whether it will be presented to a grand jury.
District Attorney Crosby Parker also declined to give additional details regarding the accident.
“It’s still premature to make any statements on the case,” he said. “Once the investigation is turned over to another agency, it’s up to them. We don’t get involved until it’s over.”