HODGENVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- A southern Kentucky girl was killed in an accident while riding her bike on her birthday.
Larue County Sheriff Russell McCoy said 9-year-old Charlene "Charlie" Sipes was killed Tuesday when she wrecked her bike near her home in a rural area near Hodgenville. Investigators say as the girl fell, the handlebar brake hit her neck and caused a severe injury that took her life.
McCoy said Charlie's mother found her and carried her back to their home about 200 feet away, but the third grader died on what was her ninth birthday.
McCoy called it a "freak accident" that has affected his officers and everyone else in the community. He praised Hodgenville's Abraham Lincoln Elementary School for how it handled grief counseling for its students and staff.
In a statement, principal Crystal Wilkerson said Charlie's death impacted everyone who knew her:
"Charlie was a charming, caring student who was loved by her teachers and her peers. This is a terrible loss for everyone who knew her. Our crisis team has arranged resources and support for our students, staff and families as we cope with this loss. We ask that members of the community keep the Sipes family, as well as the teachers and students who are grieving close to your heart."
A friend started a GoFundMe page that has raised nearly $3,000 for the Sipes family.
Charlie Sipes is survived by her parents, a sister and three brothers, according to the Bennett-Bertram Funeral Home website.
There will be a visitation from 4-8 p.m. Friday at Bennett-Bertram Funeral Home in Hodgenville.
Charlie's family asks anyone who attends to avoid wearing black and to wear bright colors instead, because Charlie was a "bright light in everyone's lives."
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