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Cape man injured in mower-in-canal accident still critical, but improving, officials say

By Staff | Aug 4, 2015

A Cape Coral man was hospitalized on Monday after the lawnmower he was driving toppled into a canal.

James Monroe Bates, 54, of 3569 N.E. 11th Ave., was listed in critical condition on Tuesday at the Cape Coral Hospital, where he was taken following the accident in the northeast Cape, officials reported.

At 11:27 a.m., Cape police responded to a personal injury call at 2103 N.E. 10th Place. Bates was operating a commercial-sized riding mower when he accidentally drove off of the seawall behind a residence. He was pinned beneath the mower in the shallow waters and “completely submerged.”

His wife, Dolly Bates, told police that she was in front of the home when she no longer heard the lawnmower. When she went to the back of the residence to see what was going on, two people on the other side of the canal yelled at her to call 911. They saw Bates and the mower fall into the canal.

The first officers on scene jumped into the water and freed Bates from beneath the lawnmower, officials reported. The nearby public works employees, who yelled at Dolly Bates to call 911, helped lift Bates over the seawall and into the backyard. Bates was not breathing, according to officials.

CPR was administrated on site before Bates was transported with life-threatening injuries.

“As of right now, the subject’s condition has improved since yesterday morning, and he is alert and communicating with family and medical staff,” Sgt. Dana Coston, with the Cape police, said Tuesday.

Bates’ family could not be reached for comment as they have requested privacy at this time.