TABOR CITY, NC-- In what neighbors say was a tragic accident, Mario Lewis Jr. lost his life Wednesday afternoon.
Tabor City Police received a call around 4 p.m. about the incident involving Mario and a lawn mower at 322 West 3rd Street.
The man on the mower with Mario was family friend Jamie Thomas.
"He put the child on the lawn mower with himself and cut two or three rounds and went to the back yard," said Tabor City Police Chief Donald Dowless. "He said that he stopped to move a trampoline, put the child off of the lawn mower and told him to leave it alone. While he was moving the trampoline the child somehow or another got the mower in gear, the blades were engaged, being an old lawn mower, and it ran over the child."
According to Peggy Watson, a neighbor of the family, Mario was at her home no more than 30 minutes before the incident. When she heard about what happened she rushed to 3rd Street and what she saw was appalling.
"It was a very gruesome scene in the backyard," said Watson. "Actually I was there when they removed some of the bodily mass."
"It's a freak accident but as you ride around, if you look you'll be surprised at the amount of people that have their kids on lawn mowers riding them around," said Dowless. "It's very unfortunate that this happened to the child."