BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - A parade goer fell to his death while watching the Fat Tuesday floats. Police said they are still trying to figure out whether he fell or slipped, but one thing they certain of is this is a terrible accident.
The final day of Mardi Gras seemed to roll without a hitch, but midway through the festivities, the parade came to a halt that stemmed from an accident at the I-110 overpass on Howard Ave.
Harrison County Coroner Gary Hargrove said 20-year-old Braydon Hester, of Ocean Springs, died while watching the Gulf Coast Carnival Association parade. Police said Hester was watching the parade with a group on top of a parked pickup truck when he somehow fell off.
"We was out here at the Mardi Gras parade having a good time with the family. It was about, I want to say half way through the parade, we was like float 43, 40, and my daughter-in-law, she was further down from me, and she came running up asking for the phone to call the police and I said, for what? She was frantic. She said a guy had fell off the truck, and when he fell off the truck, the rebar stick had went through him, and he was laying on the ground," said parade goer Allison Forehand.
She said the rebar went straight through Hester. Biloxi firefighters used the jaws of life to cut the rebar so his body could be transported to Merit Health Biloxi. Now, police are investigating the accident.
"We're not sure if he fell from the truck. If he slipped from the truck. What we do know is there was nothing sinister. I mean this was truly just an accident," said Biloxi Police Chief John Miller.
An eyewitness said she believes Hester's death could have been prevented.
"If these stakes wouldn't have been put up and that boy would have fell out that truck, that would have never happened. We have a life took today because of a rebar stick, and the other sad part of this is they did not even stop the parade from rolling. The ambulance and fire department had such a time trying to get here to get this man," said Forehand.