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Williston toddler dies in accident

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By The Staff

A 3-year-old Williston boy died Friday night after the utility vehicle in which he was a passenger went into an unused rock pit, fell off a submerged ledge, overturned and he drowned.

Aaron D. Ford, who would have turned 4 years old on Nov. 8, was located in the water about three hours after the 10 p.m. accident by the Levy County Sheriff's Office Dive Team, according to Lt. Scott Finnen.

Funeral services were held at 7 p.m. Wednesday at Knauff Funeral Home in Williston. (A complete obituary is on page 11)

The accident occurred at a water-filled rock pit on a farm located along Northeast State Road 121, about 1 mile north of Williston.

Michael J. Hoolihan, 51, a family friend, was driving the Polaris utility vehicle at the time of the accident. The Florida Highway Patrol report says Hoolihan managed to get off the vehicle and reach shore, but he could not locate Ford.

Hoolihan sustained minor injuries in the mishap and was not wearing a seat belt at the time. Ford was belted in according to the FHP report.

Levy County Sheriff's Capt. Evan Sullivan said the headlights were on at the time of the accident because they were still on when it was pulled from the water.

Finnen said it took so long to locate the child's body because the water was muddled and divers could not see more than 6 inches ahead. The other diver assisting in the case was Lt. Scott Tummond.

The Sheriff's Office Dive Team assisted in recovering Ford because the FHP does not have a dive team.

Lt. Patrick Riordan of the FHP said the investigation into the child's death is expected to take 45 to 60 days.