Hendricks Co. family warns parents after lawnmower accident leaves child without toes

CLAYTON, Ind. (WISH) — A family from Hendricks County is sharing the details of a terrible accident, hoping to spare others the same heartbreak of using a lawnmower around children.

The injury risk is a sad reality doctors see too often in the summer months.

2016 was the year life changed for the Dixon family.

Jeff Dixon, who is the Liberty Township Fire Chief, started the lawn mower and told his two young sons to stay inside and watch a movie. But they only listened for so long before they made their way outside. It’s a day Dixon remembers clearly.

Evan Dixon loves to play baseball. He practices hitting balls with his brother on a daily routine.

“Here we are in 2020 and he’s running around playing like nothing ever happened,” Evan’s dad said.

It was March 30, 2016.

“In just a blink of an eye, they were behind my lawnmower and Evan was underneath and I thought maybe I killed my son,” Jeff Dixon said.

Jeff’s wife is a paramedic and heard the call.

“I thought maybe he might not make it,” Dixon said.

Dixon’s training kicked in.

“In years of being a firefighter and EMT, it tells me that what just happened is not a scrape or needs stitches, it’s very significant,” he said. “As a father, I’m destroyed.”

It’s a moment that still brings tears.

“We were this close to having a child without a leg,” Dixon said. “We were this close to something more tragic happening.”

The accident left Evan with no toes on his left foot and a big scar on his knee.

“Sometimes I don’t notice it, unless I don’t have socks on,” the fifth grader said.

A big hurdle was learning to walk again.

His father never left his side.

“He’s a great father,” the 10-year-old said.

It’s an accident the father of two wants to make sure doesn’t happen to another child.

“Kids do belong inside,” Dixon said. “When the grass is being mowed, they need to be inside with adult supervision to make sure they don’t get back out.”

The injury is not stopping Evan. He has dreams of becoming firefighter just like his dad.

But for now, baseball comes first.

The Mill Creek West Elementary student spent nine nights at Riley Hospital for Children and had multiple surgeries and skin grafts.

He wears a prostetic shoe insert for his toes to fill the gap. Other than that, his parents say there’s nothing he has to do different than any other child.