Candlelight vigil scheduled for Sunday

A former east Biloxi resident, who said he cried when he heard about the deadly bus-train collision Tuesday in downtown Biloxi, is organizing a candlelight vigil for Sunday evening at 6:30 in memory of those involved in the incident.

Jerome Harrison, who worked for years in a seafood plant on Back Bay before moving to Latimer a year ago, said he’ll have as many as 300 candles for the vigil, which will last no more than an hour and will be conducted in Doris L. Busch Park on Esters Boulevard. The city park is a stone’s throw east of the Main Street crossing, site of the crash that killed four people and injured dozens. The bus was carrying 48 senior citizens, from the Austin, Texas, area, to a Back Bay casino when the accident occurred shortly after 2 p.m. Tuesday.

“I just broke down and cried when my brother called me and told me about it,” Harrison said. “For something like that to happen in our community is just so devastating. I just think something like this candlelight vigil will show that the people of Biloxi really care about what happened.”

Mayor Andrew “FoFo” Gilich agreed and suggested Busch Park for the site.

“It’s important that we come together to process what we have come through as a community,” Gilich said. “It’s important that we pray for those who perished and for those who were injured, and that we pray for the many families that were impacted by this.”

Added Councilman Felix Gines, whose ward includes the Main Street area: “We consider these visitors as part of our extended family here in Biloxi, and I am also so proud of the heroes of Ward 2 who so heroically offered aid and comfort that day.”

The program will include prayers and singing, said Harrison, who grew up in Meridian and moved to east Biloxi when he was 18. Today, he is 52. “I’ll have 200 or 300 candles there,” he said. “I don’t know how people will be there. I’ve talked to a couple of churches, one here in Latimer, and, really, everybody I see.  It’s worth it. Look at how people came together for us after Katrina.”


Inside the emergency response

In this week’s  “City Desk” podcast, Fire Chief Joe Boney and Police Chief John Miller tell you the story behind the emergency response to the tragic bus-train collision on Main Street. Among the topics: Coordination among first responders at scene, challenges for first responders, from multiple agencies  and what’s next in the process. To listen to the podcast, which was recorded this morning at the Lopez-Quave Public Safety Center, click here.


Portion of NTSB briefing, Wednesday afternoon, at Main Street site


Initial NTSB briefing, Wednesday morning, in Washington, D.C.