Harrison County

Biloxi chiefs put in spotlight for response to train-bus crash

Biloxi Fire Chief Joe Boney, left, and Biloxi Police Chief John Miller, right, are presented awards by Terry Powell, center, president of the Biloxi Chamber of Commerce, Wednesday at IP Casino Resort. They were honored for their leadership last week when a tour bus was hit by a train in Biloxi.
Biloxi Fire Chief Joe Boney, left, and Biloxi Police Chief John Miller, right, are presented awards by Terry Powell, center, president of the Biloxi Chamber of Commerce, Wednesday at IP Casino Resort. They were honored for their leadership last week when a tour bus was hit by a train in Biloxi. meperez@sunherald.com

They never would have sought the award for themselves, said Rachael Seymour, director of the Biloxi Chamber of Commerce. But Biloxi Police Chief John Miller and Fire Chief Joe Boney were surprised when they were honored Wednesday with the chamber’s officer of the quarter awards.

These awards are presented by the chamber to Biloxi police officers and firefighters who perform significant acts. Seymour said it was fitting for the chiefs to take the awards for their leadership and the way their departments responded last week when a tour bus was hit by a train and four people died.

“Thank you once again for the job we did as a community, as a village,” Mayor Andrew “FoFo” Gilich said, praising the actions of Biloxi’s first responders, as well as personnel from Keesler Air Force Base and others who sprang into action after the accident.

Speaking at the chamber’s Breakfast with the Mayor at IP Casino Resort, Gilich was asked who is responsible for the “hump” at the Main Street railroad crossing where the bus got stuck.

He said Mississippi Department of Transportation, CSX and the city have different responsibilities at the crossings. “Together, we’ve got to make it safe,” he said.

At the next council meeting March 21, the CSX Railroad Consolidation Plan will be discussed to close six of the city’s 29 railroad crossings. Gilich said it will be the first review and there are opportunities for access roads.

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