Man dies in lawnmower accident in front of 7 grandchildren

The accident happened in Summerville in Chattooga County. 

His family says Wayne Smith, 68, wanted to take seven of his grandchildren on an adventure during the family's Labor Day cookout. He put them in a trailer and hooked it up to his riding mower, but as he was coming down a steep hill it overturned.

>> Read more trending stories

Neighbor Martha Chisolm saw the seven children running down the hill from the accident and shouting.

"They say, ‘Papaw's dead.’ They started hollering the time they got inside here, ‘Pawpaw's dead. Pawpaw's dead,’” Chisolm said.

“The oldest little boy, he kept saying, ‘Don't look at him. Don't look at him. If you ever look at him, you'll never forget it,'" she added.

Smith's wife, Patricia, says she feels numb.

“(It’s) kind of like something's sitting on my chest. (It's) like a nightmare I can't wake up from,” she said.

Investigators believe the weight of the trailer and the children plus the incline of the hill were factors in the tragedy.

Patricia says she'll always remember how much the grandchildren meant to her husband.

“He took them up once, came back and then took them up again and last time he didn't come back,” she said.

Six of the seven children were hurt, but none seriously. They were taken to a hospital.

Meanwhile, many are more concerned about the emotional toll this accident might have on the seven grandchildren.

“It was just the most horrible thing for poor little children to go through what they did,” Chisolm said.

Thank you for reading the Springfield News-Sun and for supporting local journalism. Subscribers: log in for access to your daily ePaper and premium newsletters.

Thank you for supporting in-depth local journalism with your subscription to the Springfield News-Sun. Get more news when you want it with email newsletters just for subscribers. Sign up here.

X