UPDATE: Jefferson County releases name of drowning victim
An 80-year-old Jefferson County resident is dead after he drowned while mowing the law, investigators suspect.
According to a news release from Jefferson County, on Saturday, June 28 at approximately 11:30 a.m., the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office Dispatch Center received a 911 call of a possible drowning in the 22000 block of Hwy. 365 in Fannett. Upon arrival deputies were advised that an 80-year-old Billy Huffhines was mowing the grass on a zero turn radius lawnmower around the pond on his property when the lawnmower entered the water and overturned pinning him. Medics from the Labelle Fannett VFD arrived on scene and attempted to resuscitate Huffhines with no success.
Justice of the Peace Ray Chesson arrived on scene and pronounced the Huffhines deceased. He also ordered an autopsy.
Jefferson County Sheriff's Deputy Rod Carroll said wet ground was likely a factor in Huffhines' mower tipping over into the pond.
"It had rained a few days earlier, and the ground was soft," Carroll described. "It was physics. When he got close to the pond, the weight of the mower on the soft ground caused it to tip."
Carroll said that he used the term "suspected drowning" in a press release because he is waiting for the autopsy results for confirmation of what investigators believe to be the cause of death.
"Because of his age being 80 years old, that is the reason I used the word 'suspected,'" said Carroll. "If they do the autopsy and don't find water in his lungs, he could have died of a heart attack."
Carroll said Huffhines lived with his wife at their home in Fannett.