A Leavenworth County family is mourning after a 10-year-old girl drowned when she became trapped underneath her all-terrain vehicle that rolled into a pond.
Shelbee Heim was driving her family's new ATV Thursday night on a dirt path by a pond on her family's property. Her family believes she got too close to the edge. The ATV, which the family got last week, flipped over on the driver's side and pinned her underneath.
"I tried to pick it up," her devastated father, Gary Heim, said. "I jumped in the water right away. I felt her underneath the water and then called 911."
She drowned in about two feet of water. She was rushed to Cushing Hospital in Leavenworth where she was pronounced dead.
"If I'd been right there, I couldn't have saved her," her father said. "I couldn't have saved her because this thing weighed over 1,200 pounds."
Heim said his daughter loved riding ATVs. She was adopted when she was 2 days old.
"She was always careful," Heim said. "I don't know what happened. She might not have seen the narrow part of the dam. And I think that's what happened. She dropped the left front wheel and tipped over."
The Heim family farm sits on 250 acres, a natural playground for Shelbee and her sister, Allison, who was also adopted.
"My wife and I couldn't have children and we adopted," he said. "Allison will be 15 on Sept. 22 and Shelbee was 10 on March 28."
Now the family is planning her funeral.
"She was a beautiful little girl and was full of joy," Heim said.
A memorial fund has been established to help the family with expenses. If you would like to donate, you can do so at Exchange National Bank, P.O. Box 158, Easton, KS, 66020.
Copyright 2012 KCTV (Meredith Corp.) All rights reserved.
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