Harrison County

Driver was ‘sober’ before train hit tour bus, Biloxi chief says

Police Chief John Miller said the driver of a tour bus was “sober” before a train hit the bus on the CSX railroad tracks at Main Street, killing four senior citizens and injuring 44 others.

A news release from the Police Department also for the first time identified the driver. He is Louis Ambrose Jr., 60, an employee of Dallas-based Echo Tours. The news release said Ambrose has worked for Echo for “an undisclosed amount of time.”

Federal investigators have interviewed Ambrose, but Miller said he was not authorized to disclose details. Miller said nothing in the Police Department’s investigation indicates criminal activity was involved in the May 7 accident.

“It is straight up a terrible accident,” Miller said.

The National Transportation Safety Board and Police Department are conducting “parallel investigations” into the accident, NTSB spokesman Peter Knudson said.

The NTSB sent investigators to Biloxi last week to begin collecting evidence. The agency expects to release a preliminary accident report within three weeks, Knudson said. He said a final report will take 12 to 18 months.

The bus appeared to be stuck on the tracks. The grade is steep on the north side of the Main Street crossing, with signs on both sides warning of a “low ground clearance.”

Ambrose was not on the tour company’s recommended route as he headed north on Main Street to Boomtown Casino Biloxi with the busload of senior citizens from Austin, Texas, and surrounding areas.

In January, a train had slammed into a Pepsi delivery truck stuck on the tracks, and in March 2016, a casino tour bus got stuck in the same spot but was removed without an accident.