A man was killed after falling off the tailgate of a pickup and onto a piece of rebar, essentially impaling himself, during the Gulf Coast Carnival Association Mardi Gras parade Tuesday afternoon.
The accident happened under the Interstate 110 overpass on the south side of Howard Avenue. Pieces of rebar that were about 5 feet long were being used to hold caution tape to keep spectators from parking under the overpass.
Harrison County Coroner Gary Hargrove identified the victim as Braydon Hester, 20, of Ocean Springs.
Melissa Manning of Vancleave and several other family members were watching the parade together near where the accident happened.
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“When it happened, my first thought was to get the kids away because they didn’t need to see that,” Manning said. “There was a guy there with a pole sticking out of him, and they were holding his neck — he was limp.”
Biloxi Fire Chief Joe Boney said the accident was “pretty rough,” and one of the worst things he’s seen at a Mardi Gras parade.
“He didn’t have a pulse at the scene,” Boney said. “(The rebar) went through by his ribcage and came out the other side of his torso.”
The Fire Department had to cut the rebar to remove the man from it, Boney said.
Officials had to stop the parade for about 20 minutes to get the ambulance to take the man to Merit Health Biloxi, Boney said. Getting through the crowds took several minutes.
The Gulf Coast Carnival Association parade is one of the largest Mardi Gras parades in South Mississippi.
Other parade news
Biloxi police Maj. Jim Adamo said there were no major arrests to report during the GCCA parade. He said the crowd was “very large” but he did not estimate the number of people in attendance.
The Krewe of Diamonds Mardi Gras parade also rolled Tuesday in Bay St. Louis.
Police Chief Daren Freeman said there were no arrests made during the parade.
“I don’t have a crowd estimate, but there were a lot of people there — it was very well-attended,” Freeman said.