9-Year-Old Dies After Falling Off Bike in 'Freak Accident' on Her Birthday: It's a 'Nightmare'
A Kentucky mother is mourning the death of her 9-year-old daughter, who fatally fell off her bike in a “freak accident” while celebrating her birthday on Tuesday.
Charlene Sipes died after falling off the bike that evening, a spokesperson for the LaRue County coroner tells PEOPLE. Police said Sipes hit a curb and wrecked her bike near her family’s Hodgenville home, with the handlebar lever severing an artery in the girl’s neck, according to WLKY.
“This isn’t supposed to be real. It’s supposed to be a dream. I’m going to wake up and it’s all a nightmare,” Sipes’ mother, Tiffany Fischer, wrote in a Facebook post on Wednesday.
She added in another message: “It was her 9th birthday. We got to experience life with Charlie for nine years exactly. Nine short years. My baby. My little girl. I have never been so broken in my life.”
Sipes was riding along a rural road in front of her home that night, WDRB reported. Fischer found her daughter and carried the ailing little girl about 200 feet back to their home.
She was pronounced dead at the scene and the incident has been called a “freak accident,” according to the Louisville Courier Journal. She was a third-grader at Abraham Lincoln Elementary School and is survived by her parents, sister and three brothers, her obituary states.
A visitation service is scheduled for Friday evening, according to the girl’s obituary. Fischer wrote in a Facebook post that Friday “will be the hardest day of my life.”
“I will say my final goodbyes to my best friend,” she wrote. “To my little girl. My family will say good bye to one of the brightest lights in all of our lives.”
The LaRue County Sheriff’s Office did not immediately respond to a request for comment from PEOPLE.
A GoFundMe page set up to support Sipes’ family has raised more than $6,500, far surpassing its $2,000 goal.
Counselors were available for students, staff and family at Abraham Lincoln Elementary School in the wake of the death.
“Charlie was a charming, caring student who was loved by her teachers and her peers,” principal Crystal Wilkerson said in a statement obtained by WDRB. “This is a terrible loss for everyone who knew her.”
School officials did not immediately respond to a request for comment from PEOPLE.