Lawn mower accident is second tragedy for family

Junior Gonzalez

Tragedy struck a York County family again Saturday when for the second time in a little more than a year a member died suddenly.

Lori Baker was driving her son to a game Saturday when she received a phone call from her aunt. That's when she received the news her brother, James “Jimmy” Howard Jr., 48, of Chanceford Township, was killed in an accident involving a riding lawn mower.

Jimmy Howard Jr., third from the right, in a family photo. The family also recently lost Jimmy's mother Sandra Howard, seated, to a drunk driver. Lori Baker is second from the right.

She said Howard was mowing the area around the insurance business he ran with his father Saturday afternoon when the riding lawn mower he was loading onto a trailer accidentally rolled onto him.

The news comes a little more than a year after Baker's mother, Sandra Howard, was killed in April 2016 by a drunk driver.

Baker was in disbelief at her family's misfortune.

“It doesn’t seem fair, does it?” she said.

Chanceford Twp. man killed in mower accident; third such recent death

'Bright' personality: Baker remembers her brother, the married father of two, as a man who always wanted to help.

“He was one of those bright personalities that filled any room with laughter,” she said.

Baker said Jimmy Howard Jr. had a big smile, with an infectious enthusiasm.

“I don’t think he ever met a stranger that didn’t like him,” she said. “He was very well-liked.”

Her brother ran the James P. Howard Insurance agency with their father, James Howard Sr., and he loved everything about it.

“They were best friends,” Baker said.

Baker said Jimmy was an ever-present father for his two sons, Luke and Sam, and always made it a goal to attend their baseball and basketball games.

She said his sons, as well as everyone in the family, are in “big shock” over the whole ordeal.

“He was very well thought-of and respected,” Baker said, “and an awesome father and husband."

The accident is the third fatal incident related to riding lawn mowers in York County since April.

Baker said when their mother died last year at the hands of an intoxicated driver, Jimmy Howard Jr. was beside himself.

“He really took my mom’s death hard,” Baker said.

She added that with the loss of his wife and now his son, James Howard Sr. is going through an especially difficult time.

Baker said he is holding up as best as he can.

“He’s a resilient guy,” she said.

Baker said funeral services would not be held until after Memorial Day.