Sheriff: Toddler killed in lawn-mowing accident north of Ferndale


A Whatcom County toddler was killed this weekend when his grandfather accidentally backed over him with a riding lawn mower, according to the sheriff's office.

Jack Joseph Kelley, who was days shy of his second birthday, had been playing in the yard while his 67-year-old grandfather cut the grass with a John Deere riding mower Saturday, July 13. The mower backed over the boy, killing him instantly, said Whatcom County Sheriff Bill Elfo.

Results of an autopsy had not been released as of Wednesday morning. So far, however, the evidence does not suggest a crime, Elfo said.

"It's what appears to be a tragic, freak accident," Elfo said. "We're trying to do everything we can to protect the privacy of the family."

Deputies believe the grandfather had been visiting the boy's parents at their home north of Ferndale, near Enterprise Road.

A memorial service will be held at 1 p.m. Friday, July 19, at Christ the King Church, 4173 Meridian St.

Reach Caleb Hutton at 360-715-2276 or Read his Dispatcher blog at or follow him on Twitter at @bhamcrime.

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