A California woman was run over by a lawn mower and killed while sleeping in a weed-filled area of a Modesto park.
A lawn care worker “driving a John Deere tractor with a pull-behind motor” did not spot Christine Chavez’s body until after mowing over her.
Members of Chavez’s family said they found chunks of her body laid out across Beard Brook Park, Fox 40 reported. Her father, Christopher Chavez, was absolutely horrified after going back to see the scene of his daughter’s death.
“There were many pieces of (her remains) around there, and I called the police,” Chavez told Fox 40. “I went there, and I still have pieces of bones, like pieces of her skull and some teeth. It’s terrible.”
The 27-year-old mother was homeless, leaving behind a nine-year-old daughter.
E & J Gallo Winery bought the property just a day before Chavez was killed and hired Grover Landscaping Services to trim the area.
The Winery released a statement regarding the incident:
Gallo acquired the Beard Brook Park property in Modesto on Friday, July 7, 2023. On Saturday, July 8, 2023, a landscaping contractor was hired to perform weed abatement and fire prevention services.
There was an accident at approximately 12:00 p.m. involving the contractor’s tractor and an individual who was not visible and laying in a tall, weeded area. The contractor immediately contacted the Modesto Police Department, and upon arrival, MPD officers declared the individual was deceased.
Gallo expresses its sincere condolences to the family of the victim.
According to Grover Landscaping Service, the worker contacted law enforcement as soon as he discovered the body.
Chavez’s sister Esmer Chavez said the area smelled like death and she found pieces of her sister’s flesh covered in grass.
“It’s just the worst way to die without doing absolutely nothing wrong,” Esmer wrote on her GoFundMe page for her sister’s funeral expenses. “And it hurts so much that she was just sleeping, not doing any harm to anyone. We know there’s a lot of homeless people out there, and I can’t believe the driver of the tractor didn’t see my little sister laying on the floor.”
During a Modesto city council meeting, Dez Martinez, a member of a homeless advocacy organization We Are Not Invisible, slammed the city for its failure to assist the homeless.
“What happened to building affordable housing, tiny home villages, safe camps, to get people off the streets so they’re not raped, they’re not killed, and they’re not run over while taking a nap in a park?”
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