4-year-old girl’s leg severed in lawnmower accident in American Fork

Posted at 1:58 PM, Aug 01, 2016
and last updated 2016-08-02 01:18:11-04

AMERICAN FORK, Utah — A four-year-old girl lost half her right leg in American Fork Monday afternoon when she got caught in the blades of a riding lawnmower.

The girl was flown to Primary Children's Hospital, where she is in serious condition.

"Even though it's been several hours at this point, I'm just trying to process what went on,"said neighbor Rebecca Wagner.

Wagner, like most neighbors, wish they never would have seen what took place in that front yard around on 1300 North 300 West.

According to police, a four-year-old girl was on the riding lawnmower with her grandmother, who was cutting her neighbor's lawn while they were on vacation.

"Grandma is just out mowing the lawn, she's got her granddaughter there, I'm sure they are having a good time together and the little girl just slips off," said Lt. Sam Liddiard, of the American Fork Police Dept. "It happened so quick grandma didn't have time to stop."

Police say the girl's right leg got caught underneath the blade, severing it at the knee.

"She was just saying I can't feel my legs and they kept telling her to lay there and not move," said neighbor Shelly Peterson.

Peterson says neighbors were screaming, but the girl was quietly in shock.

"She wasn't really crying, think she was just kind of scared and just panicking," Peterson said.

When police officers arrived, they lifted the mower off the four-year-old. That image is painfully engrained in Wagner's mind.

"Just saw them pick up the little girl and saw her without her leg and saw them put her on the stretcher and take her," said Wagner.

Wagner's kids sometimes play with the young victim.

"My son thinks the world of her and thinks she is so cute," said Wagner. "Obviously, when you see things like that, you think what if it were my child and it would just be heart wrenching."

Neighbors say the grandmother is a well-liked, caring person and this is a day that will haunt her forever.

"Right now she's having a hard time living with herself, so we are just at a loss, it's an unspeakable moment," said neighbor Mark Harrison.

Police say the grandmother is not facing any charges, but they do hope people learn from this mistake.

"These lawnmowers aren't made for two people, we see people doing this all the time, it's just a very tragic accident," said Liddiard.