A 6-foot-tall tombstone that weighed hundreds of pounds fell on and killed a 4-year-old boy who was posing for photos with family and friends at a historic cemetery in a Utah ski resort town, authorities said.
Carson Dean Cheney was holding onto the headstone Thursday when some metal connecting it to the pedestal broke, said Park City police Capt. Phil Kirk. Some of the children being photographed were not being responsive, so Carson tried to help the photographer — his father — by pretending to be leprechaun and making them laugh, said Curtis Morley, a family friend. Morley said the boy went behind a tombstone and was playfully poking his head out from behind it when it fell on him.
“Carson passed away while trying to make others smile,” Morley said.
Carson was just about to enter kindergarten, loved to ride his bike and was “full of life,” said his grandmother, Geri Gibbs.
“There’s still so much disbelief and sorrow and anguish,” she said.
“We just keep waiting for the door to open up and Carson to come through, a happy little boy.”
Gibbs said the boy and his family were visiting from Lehi, about an hour away. She said it took three men to pull the slab off the boy, and rescuers “did everything they could possibly do.”
The child suffered injuries to his head, chest and abdomen and was taken to the nearby Park City Medical Center, where he died.
Authorities were still investigating Friday.
Morley works with the boy’s father, Zac Cheney, at a professional services firm in Salt Lake City. He said Zac Cheney does photography in his spare time and was shooting portraits at the cemetery because of its extensive landscaping.
Park City Police Chief Wade Carpenter said the coarse stone at the Glenwood Cemetery in Park City, about 4 inches thick, marked the grave of someone who died in the 1800s.
Bruce Erickson, president of the Glenwood Cemetery Association, said the private, five-acre cemetery around the corner from Park City Mountain Resort was founded by a society of silver miners in 1885, and many of the tombstones are at least 100 years old. The cemetery is open to the public and still accepts burials of people connected to the mining society.
Erickson said no funerals were held there Thursday.
New burials happen about once a year, he said, and families are responsible for maintaining the headstones. Erickson said the cemetery likely will be closed through the weekend.
A funeral for the boy is set for Tuesday. Morley said a memorial fund has been set up at Zions Bank.
Associated Press writer Lynn DeBruin in Salt Lake City contributed to this report.
More Related Stories
- Developers evict historic women's shelter to build luxury hotel
- Kaitlyn Hunt refuses plea offer, will go to court over high school relationship
- DHS admits "impossible" to control 3D-printed guns
- Journalists file suit against Manning trial secrecy
- Russia: Syrian regime ready to talk peace
- Report: Nearly a quarter of all Americans struggle to afford food
- Ted Cruz against the world
- Louie Gohmert: Women should be forced to carry nonviable pregnancies to term
- 2 men arrested for endangering commercial aircraft
- Oversized load blamed for bridge collapse
- This is what Guy Fieri looks like as a balloon
- Iran hackers aiming at U.S. energy firms
- Lawyers release data in attempt to discredit Trayvon Martin
- Anonymous rallies behind Kaitlyn Hunt
- Bridge collapse: Part of "aging infrastructure"
- Mistrial in penalty phase of Arias case
- Amanda Bynes arrested after hurling bong from window
- Interstate 5 bridge collapses north of Seattle
- Mississippi could begin prosecuting women for miscarriages
- Teenage girl claims she was beaten up for looking like Taylor Swift
- UK Military: London attack victim was a "model soldier"
Featured Slide Shows
The week in 10 picsclose X
- 1 of 11
Lisa Montgomery embraces her nephew Thursday after a tornado tore apart her home in Cleburne, Texas. The twister killed six people and destroyed entire swaths of the North Texas town.
Credit: AP/LM Otero
Jack McMahon, the defense attorney for abortion doctor Kermit Gosnell, speaks outside the Criminal Justice Center in Philadelphia Tuesday. His client was convicted of killing three babies in his clinic, and will serve multiple life sentences.
Credit: AP/Matt Rourke
A photo taken Monday captures Vice President Joe Biden's response to a Milwaukee second-grader's innovative proposal to end America's epidemic of gun violence. This guy!
Credit: AP/Jenny Aicher
Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., flanked by a grouper-eyed Michele Bachmann, addresses the IRS' admission that it targeted Tea Party groups in advance of the 2012 election. In an op-ed for CNN Thursday, the Kentucky senator slammed the president for his faux outrage.
Credit: AP/Molly Riley
Ousted IRS chief Steven Miller is sworn in on Capitol Hill Friday. Miller testified before the House Ways and Means Committee on the extra scrutiny the agency gave conservative groups applying for tax-exempt status.
Credit: AP/J. Scott Applewhite
Attorney General Eric Holder pauses as he testifies on Capitol Hill before the House Judiciary Committee Wednesday. Holder is under fire, among other things, for the Justice Department's gathering of phone records at the Associated Press.
Credit: AP/Carolyn Kaster
O.J. Simpson sits during an evidentiary hearing at Clark County District Court in Las Vegas, Nev., Thursday. Simpson, who is currently serving a nine-to-33-year sentence in state prison for armed robbery and kidnapping, is using a writ of habeas corpus to seek a new trial.
Credit: AP/Las Vegas Review-Journal/Jeff Scheid
Major Tom to ground control: On Sunday astronaut Chris Hadfield recorded the first music video from space, a cover of David Bowie's "Space Oddity."
Credit: AP/NASA/Chris Hadfield
When it rains it pours. President Barack Obama speaks during a news conference Thursday with Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, inexplicably inspiring an #umbrellagate Twitter meme.
Credit: AP/Jacquelyn Martin
A smoke plume rises high above a road block at the intersection of County A and Ross Road east of Solon Springs, Wis., Tuesday. No injuries were reported, but the the wildfire caused evacuations across northwestern Wisconsin.
Credit: AP/The Duluth News-Tribune/Clint Austin
Recent Slide Shows
- 1 of 11