Despite the loss of his left eye two years ago, Logan Howard loved playing outside and tackled all sorts of activities, his mother said.
The 5-year-old Knott County boy died Saturday when the battery-powered toy vehicle he was driving struck a trampoline. Logan had survived eye cancer, his mother, Jaimie Sparks, said Monday, and had been cancer-free since Feb. 3, 2011. Sparks said her son wore an eye prosthesis, but she did not know whether Logan's impaired sight contributed to the accident.
"He was being a kid," Sparks said of the accident. "If I had to lose my baby, he was doing something he loved to do."
Logan died at 3:55 p.m. Saturday at Whitesburg Appalachian Regional Hospital, after the accident occurred at a birthday party at a home at Blackey in Letcher County, according to Letcher County Coroner Marty Baker.
Logan "ran the battery-powered toy Jeep up under a trampoline. It pinned him between the frame of the trampoline and the Jeep," said Baker.
An autopsy has been conducted, Baker said, but final results are not expected for a few weeks.
Authorities were trying to determine whether Logan died from a neck injury or asphyxiation, Baker said.
The child's father, Clint Howard, said the kindergartner had ridden such a toy vehicle many times. Howard said he didn't think the toy malfunctioned.
"It was an accident," Howard said.
Kentucky State Police were investigating. Trooper Tony Watts said Monday that he knew adults were present at a family gathering when the accident occurred, but he had no additional details.
Howard said Monday that the accident occurred while Logan was at a cousin's birthday party.
Howard and Sparks said several adults were nearby when Logan suffered the fatal injury.
"He wasn't left alone," Howard said. "Everybody was watching," said Sparks. She said Logan received help immediately.
A spokeswoman for the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, an independent federal agency, said at least 12 child deaths nationwide have been associated with powered riding toys since 2000, but none was caused by entrapments.
Spokeswoman Patty Davis said eight of the victims drowned and in the other four cases, the victims were hit by other vehicles.
Davis said a National Electronic Injury Surveillance System shows that more than 21,000 injuries involving powered riding toys were seen at emergency departments from 2000 to 2011.
Logan was a student at Letcher Elementary near Whitesburg, his father said.
Sparks said she encouraged her son not to let the loss of his eye prevent him from living a full life.
"I continued letting him ... learn his own way," she said.
Logan was affected by the fact that people initiated fundraising efforts for him when he had cancer, Sparks said, and decided to help others. He had been collecting soda pop can tabs as part of a fundraising effort for other children.
"I have 200 pounds of pop tabs at my house right now that this little boy saved for kids," his mother said.
Services for Logan Howard will be at 1 p.m. Thursday at Jeremiah Missionary Baptist Church in Letcher County. Visitation at the church will be at 2 p.m. Wednesday.
Letcher Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements..
Valarie Honeycutt Spears: (859) 231-3409. Twitter: @vhspears.