'Freak accident': Kentucky girl dies after crashing bike on her 9th birthday

Kentucky 9-year-old killed in freak bicycle accident

HODGENVILLE, Ky. — A Kentucky girl died in a "freak accident" Tuesday while riding her bicycle on her ninth birthday, authorities said.

Larue County Sheriff Russell McCoy said Charlene "Charlie" Preslee-Kay Sipes, wrecked her bike near her home in Hodgenville, WDRB reported. When the girl fell, she was impaled in the neck by the bicycle's handlebar lever, severing an artery, WLKY reported. The third-grader was pronounced dead at the scene, the television station reported.

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McCoy called it a "freak accident" that has affected his officers and members of the rural community.

In a statement, Abraham Lincoln Elementary School Principal Crystal Wilkerson said Charlie's death has shaken the community, adding the school offered grief counseling for its students.

"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," Wilkerson said.

A friend of Charlene's family also started a GoFundMe to help pay for her funeral expenses. As of Friday morning, more than $5,300 had been raised.

Charlene's funeral is Friday, according to the Bennett-Bertram Funeral Home website.