[UPDATE] Lawnmower Accident Claims Life of 10-year-old Boy

By: Gabrielle Sarann Email
By: Gabrielle Sarann Email

Valdosta, Georgia - May 13, 2011

The Berrien County Coroner says 10-year-old Paxton Griffin died from suffocation and that he likely struck something while cutting grass before the lawnmower flipped over on him.

No charges will be filed against the Griffin's or Gaither's, at this time, according to the Berrien County Sheriff's Office.


Valdosta, Georgia - May 12, 2011

"He was always happy. A go-lucky young man," says Berrien Elementary School Principal Belinda West.

Inside Berrien Elementary School are reminders of a fourth grade hall missing a special student, who was always smiling, joking around and loved to fish and help out.

"It's just a sad, sad time and we're just going to do our best to get through it," says West.

Ten-year-old Paxton Griffin, a fourth grader, was killed at about 4 p.m. Wednesday afternoon, while mowing grass at Gaither's Body Shop at 7647 Highway 129 in Nashville.

Deputies say the lawnmower Paxton was riding flipped over. He got caught underneath it and likely died right away.

West says, "He had a lot of energy and was a very good student and he made friends very easily."

So, when word spread across Nashville that Paxton was in an accident at that body shop, Lucy Gaither, says, "He practically grew up down there. And that's only one of many children that my nephew had on his property."

"They've raised many [children] off and on for parents working or for whatever reason,"says Gaither, Chris Gaither's aunt. "And so, it was quite a shock. Nothing like this has every happened over there."

But what is less clear is why the mower turned over on to Paxton and why he was doing chores at Gaither's unattended.

"We're just going to keep them in our prayers and support them anyway that we can," says West.

Little Paxton was transported to Lovein Funeral Home in Nashville.

His funeral will be Sunday at Hope Baptist Church at 2 p.m.

The sheriff's office won't say whether any charges have been filed against the Gaithers or Griffins.

We'll keep you posted on any new developments.


Berrien County, Georgia - May 12, 2011- 11:43

A lawnmower accident leaves a 10 year old Berrien County boy dead. Students and teachers at his elementary school are trying to come to grips with the tragedy.

The accident happened around 4p.m. on May 11 at an auto body shop on Highway 129 in Nashville, Georgia.

Counselors and local pastors are at Berrien Elementary today to help kids and faculty cope with the 4th grader's death.

An incident report shows the boy's mom, Abbey Griffin, had picked him up from school and taken him to Gaither's Body Shop, where the boy did chores after school. Griffin says she went to check on her son and discovered him lying under the riding lawnmower that was still running. The body shop owner removed the mower off of the boy, but it was too late. First responders say he was dead when they arrived on scene.

The boy's principal says he was a good student and was always happy. Students are working on a memorial poster in honor of the fellow classmate.

We'll have more reaction tonight on Eyewitness News.

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