Doug Huskey new coroner without runoff|[11/8/06]

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, November 8, 2006

Licensed funeral director and embalmer Doug Huskey was the choice of Warren County voters Tuesday to be coroner and complete the term of the former coroner who was killed in a car wreck.

Doug Huskey, 48, polled more than half the votes cast, escaping a runoff against Larry Chisley, interim coroner, who finished second. JROTC instructor Noland Smith finished third.

&#8220I appreciate the people of Vicksburg and Warren County who supported me by voting,” Huskey said at his victory party at Triumph Church. &#8220I pledge to the people I will give 100 percent to Warren County as coroner.”

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Huskey, a longtime employee of Glenwood Funeral Home, received 6,011 of the 11,568 votes cast throughout the county’s 22 precincts. Chisley followed with 4,729 votes, and Smith trailed with 829.

While the numbers were unofficial, it appeared Huskey’s margin would stay above half of all votes cast – the margin required to win outright. A complete count of votes was expected this afternoon, Circuit Clerk Shelly Ashley-Palmertree said this morning.

Huskey will fill the remaining 14 months in the term of John A. Thomason, who was killed on U.S. 61 South July 22.

&#8220We prayed for (Thomason’s) family this morning,” Huskey said. &#8220We were good friends.”

Huskey said his first duty as coroner would be to appoint a deputy coroner, possibly two.

&#8220I plan to elect the first one by next week,” he said.

Chisley, 54, owner and operator of Dillon-Chisley Funeral Home, had served as deputy coroner since 2000. On being named interim coroner, he declined an offer from the Warren County Board of Supervisors to name a deputy coroner.

Chisley said he wishes Huskey well in his work as coroner.

&#8220I am glad the race is over, and I think it was a good, clean race,” he said. &#8220Doug is a good person. Once he takes over as coroner, I will be happy to aid and assist him in any way.”

Smith, 45, a veteran of the U.S. Marine Corps, also wished Huskey the best.

The coroner is the chief county medical examiner or medical examiner investigator and is responsible for issuing declarations of death and performing or reporting results of autopsies in cases requiring such action.

Lay coroners in Mississippi are paid $750 per month plus $85 per inquest.