Investigation continues into Buckley toddler's death in accident

Flowers, balloons and more have been delivered to the site where young Lincoln Person died.  - Photo by Dennis Box, The Courier-Herald
Flowers, balloons and more have been delivered to the site where young Lincoln Person died.
— image credit: Photo by Dennis Box, The Courier-Herald

A week after a tragic accident that resulted in the death of a Buckley toddler, authorities were still attempting to determine exactly what transpired.

The simple outline of the horrific scene was quickly and easily pieced together. It was shortly before 3 p.m. April 14 when a white pickup left state Route 410, banged through a ditch and traveled perhaps 500 feet over grass and along the paved Foothills Trail before striking a small wagon. Lincoln Person, nearly 2 years old, was in the wagon, which was being pulled by his father; Jason Person, who was not injured, attempted to pull the wagon away from the oncoming pickup, witnesses said.

Citizens attempted to revive the child, who was transported to Mary Bridge Children’s Hospital and was later pronounced dead.

The pickup was driven by John Barnard, 78, of Enumclaw. After striking the wagon, Barnard’s vehicle traveled a short distance, plowed through a flower bed and crashed into a power pole. Barnard was taken to an area hospital, treated for minor injuries and released.

Barnard quickly obtained legal representation and, through his attorney, waited until April 18 to speak with Buckley police.

A memorial of stuffed animals and other personal items quickly grew at the accident site, community members gathered for a nighttime vigil and a service took place Saturday at Glacier Middle School in Buckley.

A week following the child’s death, the one simple question remains unanswered: what happened?

Buckley Police Chief Jim Arsanto, contacted Monday morning, said his department hopes to conclude its investigation this week and possibly send a preliminary report to the Pierce County Prosecutor’s office. The investigative process will likely be prolonged, Arsanto added, because the Cooperative Cities Group – made up of city police from departments throughout Pierce County – will also contribute to the overall findings. A rash of serious accidents has stretched that group rather thin, Arsanto said, and it could be two or three weeks before a report is compiled on the the Buckley case.


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