• Man dies in lawnmower accident in front of 7 grandchildren

    Updated:

    CHATTOOGA COUNTY, Ga. - A grandfather was killed over the holiday weekend when the lawnmower he was riding turned over and crashed, in front of his seven grandchildren.

    The horrific 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.

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

    Chisolm saw the seven young grandchildren running down the hill from the accident and shouting.

    “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,'" Chisolm said.

    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 not 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.

    Next Up: