Young daughter discovers mother killed in backhoe accident

BELMONT, N.C. — A young girl got off her school bus Monday afternoon, returned to her Belmont home and discovered that her mother had died after a backhoe rolled onto her, officials told Channel 9.

The 911 call from neighbors on Catawba Point Way came in to dispatch about 4:30 p.m.

Friends said Sherry Morriss, 49, planned to build her dream home down the dirt road and was determined to complete the job. She was hard at work doing that when things went wrong.

Morriss, a single mother, was pinned under the backhoe when it rolled over.

Her 9-year-old daughter ran to a neighbor’s home to call for help after she found her mother.

"It’s going to be a big loss,” family friend Tammy Surtin said.

Surtin said it's painful to know that the girl found her mother in that condition.

She said Morriss planned to make a garden and use it to teach others how to eat healthfully, but first she had to clear a driveway to her home.

Surtin talked to her friend around noon.

"She was getting ready to get on the backhoe and knock this out," Surtin said.

Morriss' boss said he warned her to be careful.

"I know you know how to run it. I know you know what you are doing, but just be careful," Joe Kolls told Channel 9 he said to Morriss.

He believes the uneven land in front of her home is to blame.

"I'm sure that's what happened. It got uneven and it tipped over," he said.

Friends said Morriss has close family members in the area who are caring for the child.

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