Father who accidentally ran over daughter with lawnmower recalls tragic moment

TAMPA - The father who accidentally ran over his two year old daughter with a riding lawnmower shares exactly what happened that tragic night one week ago today.

Two-year-old Ireland Nugent underwent four surgeries and had to have both her ankles amputated.

She's still in the hospital and her parents have not left her side.

Her father, Jerry Nugent, is filled with guilt, but said he is beginning to realize this is a tragic accident
and that's thanks, in part, to all the community support.

On Wednesday, he shared the most recent picture of Ireland after her amputation surgery.

-She's not quite alert, but getting there. He had tears in his eyes when he talked about their interaction.

"The first words that I wanted to hear were 'Daddy, I love you.'  I didn't get that but I got this, I asked can I have a kiss and she put her heads up towards me and put her lips out and I was able to give her a kiss and that was touching," he said as his voiced cracked.

He can't talk long without tearing up.  Nugent said he's constantly updating safety measures in their Palm Harbor home.

"That is why this is so hard on me because I just never expected this to happen. I thought I had my family safe and I was wrong," said Nugent.

He then shared the 15 seconds that changed all their lives.  He thought Ireland was on the back porch behind a locked door while he was on the riding lawnmower.

"She called my name out and I said, 'Honey, I will be in in a minute,' thinking that she could not get out.  But next thing you know, I am in the driveway and I am blowing off the driveway and my wife comes out and there was a miscommunication with the hand signals and that is when my world came to an end," he said once again tears filling his eyes.

Jerry said he could actually feel the blades cut into his precious daughter. He jumped off, with the motor still running, but by that time, her feet were gone.

He didn't know if she'd make it.  But Monday, Ireland underwent her fourth surgery in five days. Doctors at Tampa General Hospital said it went better than expected.

"It's a weight that has been lifted to see that she is still there," said Nugent.

Jerry said his daughter is surrounded by Angels. Including their neighbor Aly Smith who happens to be a nurse. She rushed to Ireland's side and helped stopped the bleeding.

And also, former pro-wrestler Steve Chamberland, who also lost a leg, reached out to the the family and promised, through his foundation, 50legs.org , to keep Ireland in the best prosthetics possible.

"She's going to be fine. We have a some long hurdles to get through, but we are going to get through them,"
Nugent said.

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