Parowan mother of 4 dies after apparent fall while horseback riding

Shawna and Dixon Lovell, date and location not specified. | Photo courtesy of Dixon Lovell, St. George News / Cedar City News

PAROWAN — A 34-year-old Parowan woman died over the Labor Day weekend after an apparent fall from a horse while riding near her home.

The Shawna and Dixon Lovell at Disneyland, Anaheim, Calif., date not specified | Photo courtesy of Dixon Lovell, St. George News / Cedar City News

Shawna Lovell, the mother of four young children, died Sunday morning, her husband Dixon Lovell told Cedar City News on Monday.

Parowan Police Chief Mike Berg said the incident that led to her death reportedly happened shortly after 7 p.m. Saturday near 250 West and 400 North, only about a block or so away from the Lovell home.

Shawna Lovell had been riding alone and nobody saw her fall, Berg said, adding that the primary investigating officer determined that the incident was a “non-witnessed event.”

“Nobody saw her get kicked off, and the horse wasn’t anywhere around,” Berg said. “In fact, in the beginning, I’m not sure that he knew if it was a horse or not.”

Although some online commenters had initially speculated that a passing ATV or motorcycle may have spooked the horse, Berg said they do not have any solid evidence indicating that was the case.

The Shawna and Dixon Lovell family, date and location not specified. | Photo courtesy of Dixon Lovell, St. George News / Cedar City News

“What we know is, from all the information we have at this point, is just that an adult said he heard a four-wheeler or motorcycle in the area,” Berg said, adding that the investigating officer went around and talked to other residents who lived nearby for an hour or so afterward. 

“He talked to several people that live in that area, to see if they heard anything and nobody else reports hearing that,” Berg said.

Berg said Lovell was initially found unresponsive on the side of the road by a male passerby, who then flagged down a passing female motorist who used her vehicle to block the road and protect both Lovell and the man who’d started rendering first aid. The woman also called 911, Berg said.

Parowan police officers responded to the scene, as did a medical crew. Lovell was then taken by ground ambulance to Parowan’s airport, after which she was transported via Intermountain Life Flight helicopter to St. George Regional Hospital.

Dixon Lovell said although his wife did survive the night, she never regained consciousness, having sustained massive brain bleeding from her head injury.

Shawna Lovell died about 8 a.m. Sunday, about an hour before the organ transplant team could make it down to St. George, which Dixon Lovell said unfortunately meant her organs weren’t able to be donated.

The horse Shawna Lovell had been riding belonged to her stepfather, Dixon Lovell said, adding that his wife had been an experienced rider as a teenager but had quit riding after breaking her back in a fall from a horse about 13 years ago. She had just recently worked up the courage to get back on a horse again, he said.

“She was so proud,” he said. “She just had to get back on the road, and rode him every day after work.”

In a Facebook post dated Aug. 31, Shawna Lovell had posted a picture taken from atop a horse and had written, “This is somewhere I thought I’d never be again, but I like it.”

According to her husband and to tributes posted on social media, Shawna Lovell’s greatest joy was being a mother and raising her four children, Rylee, Madyson, Abby and Jaxen. She was also described as being an avid lover of animals, rescuing and fostering many dogs, cats and other pets needing homes.

Shawna Lovell, date and location not specified | Photo courtesy of Dixon Lovell, St. George News / Cedar City News

“She was the engine of our family,” Dixon Lovell added. “Everything went through her.”

Dixon Lovell said he and his wife, both of whom grew up in Parowan, were in the process of building their dream home on the lot next door to their current residence. The couple had been married for 10 years, he said.

Dixon Lovell also said his wife had miraculously escaped serious injury or worse in a car crash last December.

“Her car was emitting carbon monoxide and she passed out,” he recalled “By the look of everything, that should have been her last night. We were blessed to have her for another nine months.”

Funeral services for Shawna Elizabeth Groo Lovell have been scheduled for Saturday at noon at the The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints chapel located at 59 S. 100 West, Parowan. Click here for more details and to read the full obituary.

Additionally, a gofundme fundraising page has been set up by Shawna Lovell’s sister, Tara Marx of Provo, to help the Lovell family with medical bills and funeral expenses.

Ed. note: When making charitable contributions it is advisable to consult with professionals for tax advice and investment risks.

Copyright St. George News, LLC, 2021, all rights reserved.

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