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Tennessee high school graduate killed in tragic lawn mowing accident

Updated: May. 27, 2021 at 10:25 AM CDT
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FAYETTEVILLE, Tenn. (WAFF) - An unexpected tragedy has the Fayetteville community in mourning.

Seventeen-year-old Kemarion Lay, better know as Mari, died Tuesday after a tragic lawn mowing accident. Just two weeks ago, Lay walked across the stage to receive his high school diploma.

“It didn’t matter how hot, how cold. If I heard the ball dribbling outside I pretty much knew it was Mari,” Adrian Allen, cousin of Mari Lay said.

Allen says Mari Lay spent countless hours doing what he loved most, playing basketball. He says he’s devastated he won’t see him there anymore after a lawnmower he was driving turned over on him on Monday.

“It just don’t even seem real, you know. The past couple days I’ve just been waiting to see him pop outside or stick his head out the door. Mari really was a good kid, man. He’s gonna be missed,” Allen said.

Mari was airlifted to Nashville where he was pronounced dead Tuesday morning.

“She called me about 2 a.m. and told me that they had done some sort of test and came and told her that basically he was brain dead and he was on a ventilator and next time his heart quit they would have to come and take the ventilator off,” Jancie Carr said.

Mari’s mother is a caretaker for Jancie Carr and her husband, but Carr says they are like family.

“She never had a problem with that boy. He never had drugs, he was never in gangs. He just never caused her a problem. The child just graduated from high school. And we’re not supposed to question these things. And I wouldn’t if it were an old, worn-out woman like me, but to think he’s just beginning his life,” Carr explained.

Carr set up a fund with the Bank of Lincoln County to help cover the family’s funeral expenses.

“She is a single mom. She works four part-time jobs in order to survive, basically, she wanted to be sure and tell you to thank everyone who brought food and called and brought things, especially for the prayers.”

The memorial fund is active now, you can give at any of the Bank of Lincoln County branches.

Carr tells us his mother is still in the process of setting a funeral date.

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