Mum’s the word from the city of Biloxi about the rebar that impaled and killed a 20-year-old Ocean Springs man during the Gulf Coast Carnival Association parade on Fat Tuesday.
Nobody from the city was willing to say Wednesday whether rebar — steel reinforcing rods generally used in concrete and masonry — will be used at future parades and, if so, whether it will be capped.
The city referred all media calls Wednesday to police Chief John Miller, including those about rebar used along the parade route. Miller said Biloxi’s Public Works Department installed all barriers along the parade route, including the rebar.
On a work site, federal standards generally prohibit the use of uncapped rebar. The Occupational Health and Safety Administration standard says, “All protruding reinforcing steel, onto and into which employees could fall, shall be guarded to eliminate the hazard of impalement.”
Rubber caps are generally used to comply with the standard.
The city of Biloxi, like others, uses rebar to block off specific areas to traffic on parade routes. In this case, the Public Works Department strung crime-scene tape around intermittently placed rebar to prevent vehicles from parking under Interstate 110 on Howard Avenue. The young man who died, Braydon Hester, fell from the open tailgate of a pickup truck onto one of the steel rods.
The truck was parked on the curb just outside the area roped off.
Harrison County Coroner Gary Hargrove said Hester died from internal injuries. He said no autopsy is being performed, although toxicology tests were done, as they are in all cases of unnatural deaths.
Miller said he intends to talk with Public Works Director Billy Ray Allen about the rebar used on the parade routes.
“We’ve just kicked off the investigation,” Miller said. “I’m not going to leave any stones unturned. I’m going to look at everything.”