The family of a 27-year-old homeless woman in Modesto is seeking accountability after she tragically lost her life when a lawn mower ran her over in a city park, Your Content has learned.
According to the Modesto Police Department, the incident occurred on Saturday at Beard Brook city park when a landscaper operating a tractor with a pull-behind mower discovered the body of Christine Chavez in the grass he had already passed through.
Prompted by the distressing discovery, the landscaper immediately dialed 911. While Chavez occasionally visited her father’s home, she was homeless and often sought refuge outdoors during the daytime.
Christopher Chavez, her grieving father, firmly believes that her death could have been prevented. “We’re determined to pursue justice,” expressed Christopher Chavez. Notably, the management of Beard Brook Park was transferred from the city to E.&J. Gallo Winery earlier this year. In exchange for land along the Tuolumne River for a river walk, the Modesto City Council agreed to the park’s swap with Gallo, who officially acquired the property on July 7.
A spokesperson for Gallo stated that a landscaping contractor had been hired to conduct weed abatement and fire prevention services. Describing the incident as an accident, the spokesperson mentioned that the individual who tragically lost their life was lying in an area overgrown with tall weeds, rendering them invisible.
While the official cause of death for Chavez is still under investigation by the Stanislaus County Coroner, her family is demanding a thorough inquiry by the Modesto Police Department. Christopher Chavez expressed his confusion as to how the driver failed to notice her and why her body was not handled with greater care during the investigation. “It’s untrue that they didn’t see her,” emphasized Christopher Chavez. “I will persist in seeking justice until there is a resolution.”
Assisting the family in raising awareness about Chavez’s untimely demise is Dez Martinez, CEO and founder of the homeless advocacy group “We Are Not Invisible.” Martinez emphasized that such cases often require the involvement of advocates to ensure a comprehensive investigation. “Just because individuals are unhoused doesn’t mean they lack family or aren’t someone’s son or daughter,” stated Martinez, according to FOX10.