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Lake Placid toddler critically injured in lawn mower accident

Published Sep. 20, 2013

TAMPA — A 2-year-old Lake Placid boy was being treated Thursday at Tampa General Hospital after a lawn mower ran over his leg.

Anthony Meza was riding a bike Wednesday morning in front of his home while his mother, Maria Isabel Huerto Bello, 23, was using a riding lawn mower to cut grass in the front yard, according to the Highlands County Sheriff's Office.

At some point, she put the mower in reverse and accidentally backed over her son's leg, authorities said.

The boy was taken to Florida Hospital Lake Placid and later moved to Tampa General Hospital, where he remained Thursday in critical condition in the pediatric intensive care unit, authorities said.

The accident echoed another local case that received a deluge of media attention earlier this year.

Ireland Nugent, then 2, lost both legs below the knees when her father accidentally ran over her in April while mowing the family's yard in Palm Harbor.

Nicole Nugent said it was "gut-wrenching" to hear about another lawn mower accident similar to what happened to her daughter, who turned 3 last month.

"I just feel so bad for the family because I know where they are," Nugent said. "I really felt like our lives were over. I just remember that fear and that terror and I just hate that another family has to go through that."

Nugent said she has contacted Tampa General Hospital and left her contact information with a spokesman for the boy's family.

In Hardee County, a 4-year-old lost part of her right foot in July when her father backed over her with a riding mower. Nugent said she has been in touch with that family.

"We just kind of talked about the support and the accident," she said, "how hard it was."