Man dies due to incident in national park

Staff Report

A man has died as the result of an incident involving a riding lawn mower within the Cumberland Gap National Historical Park, according to a news release from the Bell County Coroner’s Office.

The release states that the office was contacted Aug. 22 by Middlesboro ARH to respond to their facilities in regard to a death that had occurred in the emergency department of the hospital.

“Upon arriving, Deputy Coroner Jason Steele pronounced Berlin Forest Howard, 27, dead at 12:35 p.m. as the result of multiple blunt force injuries he received from an incident involving a riding lawn mower, which he was operating while working for the Cumberland Gap National Historical Park. Howard was struck by a van on Pinnacle View Road within the National Park located in Middlesboro, Kentucky,” states the release.

“Forest always had a smile on his face and was willing to help anyone, at any time. He was wonderful to be around and visitors and the park team gravitated toward him. He will be sadly missed by the entire park team,” said CGNHP Superintendent Sula Jacobs in a statement on the park’s Facebook page.

“Thank you for your kind wishes during this time of loss for our park and our community,” she added.

Steele ordered an autopsy, which was to be performed at the State Medical Examiner’s Office in Frankfort on Aug. 23.

Exact details of the incident are still under a joint investigation with the National Park Service Rangers and the Bell County Coroner’s Office.

Staff Report

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