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Tampa man changing tire, hit by car, loses legs

Posted at 3:20 PM, Mar 16, 2016

Anthony Munoz cannot bear watching nurses change his bandages.

The 24-year-old cannot face what is there, or rather, what is not, both his legs.

"It's traumatic," said Munoz.  "Personally on the inside, I am not ready to see them."

On February 3, Munoz and four other family members were driving northbound on Interstate 75 headed to Georgia.  Munoz, who was employed as a trucker, had a new job lined up.

Their rental car ended up getting a flat tire in Sumter County. 

Munoz told ABC Action News he pulled over on to the shoulder and put the hazard lights on to warn other drivers to get over.

As Munoz reached into the car's trunk to get the spare tire, a motorist hit him from behind, pinning him between two cars.

"In like a split second I noticed she was coming way to close and I see her put her turn signal on and she just starts blaring her horn and that's when I realized she isn't going to stop," recalled Irene Arriaga, Munoz's girlfriend.

Arriaga says she tried grabbing ahold of Munoz's t-shirt and pulling him out of the way but couldn't.

Munoz lay lifeless in the road.

"My heart stopped because I didn't see that he was breathing," Arriaga said.

Arriaga ran to her boyfriend's side. He was conscious but couldn't feel his legs.     

"I thought my legs were broken," Munoz explained.

He was taken to Ocala Regional Hospital where he underwent emergency surgery.

When he awoke, doctors gave him the bad news:  they had to amputate both his legs above the knee.

"It is a life changer," Munoz said.

He spent two weeks in the hospital and was released.

Last Thursday, his wounds became infected and he was admitted to Brandon Regional Hospital.

He knows prosthetics will make it possible for him to talk again, but knows, it won't be the same.

"It'll be different," he said.

According to Munoz, the woman who hit him was cited and will have to appear in court.

ABC Action News requested the incident report from Florida Highway Patrol but never received a copy.

Munoz says he has questions for the driver who hit him.

"Why?  Why didn't you get over? Why didn't you break?"  he questioned.

He has applied and been granted Medicaid.

However, his house is not wheelchair accessible or equipped to handle his handicaps.

He has started a GoFundMe page to help pay for those expenses.

To donate, click here.