Butler County's great daily newspaper

Man dies when riding mower slides into pond

He was Legion groundskeeper

June 14, 2017 Digital Media Exclusive

Advertisement | Advertise Here

FINDLEY TWP, Mercer County — A 65-year-old Grove City man was killed Tuesday morning when he fell into a pond while on a riding mower and cutting the lawn at the American Legion Post on Mercer Grove City Road, authorities said.

John A. Walochik died from suffocation by drowning, according to an autopsy, said Mercer County Coroner John Libonati. The death has been ruled accidental.

State police said Walochik was riding a zero-turn style lawn mower on the front lawn at the American Legion Post home in Findley Township about 8:30 a.m. when he went into a retention pond.

He was groundskeeper at the Post, authorities said.

The mower slid sideways down an embankment and rolled into the 20-foot-deep pond, according to investigators.

The lawn mower was submerged, and only Walochik's limbs were visible from the surface, police said. He was the only person around at the time and he could not swim to safety.

Several legion members arrived at the Post shortly after the accident, but it would be three more hours before they discovered what happened.

About 11:45 a.m. a co-worker went outside for a break, authorities said, and noticed the body in the pond. The woman ran for help and police were notified.

Libonati pronounced Walochik dead at the scene.

Share this article:
Jim Smith

Jim Smith

Grew up in upstate New York. Earned my Journalism degree in 1983 from the University of Texas at Austin. Worked for two newspapers in Fayette County (Pa.) before starting at the Butler Eagle in 1998.