Family shares grief, thanks after little girl died while riding bicycle

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LONGMONT, Colo. -- The mother and stepfather of a young girl hit and killed by a truck last week are speaking out about their grief and gratitude for the support they've received from the community.

Mindy and Cody Shetley say the corner of Alpine Road and 17th Avenue will never be an easy place to visit.

“It’s rough just knowing that this is the last place that she was,” Mindy Shetley said.

The couple returned to the corner on Wednesday to see the growing memorial to their daughter, Peyton Knowlton, an 8-year-old with a bright personality.

“A tornado of glitter ... pink glitter." Mindy said with a laugh. “She made friends with everywhere we went within 10 seconds.”

The growing memorial reflects Peyton’s popularity and personality, but it doesn’t make what happened there on Friday any easier.

“She wasn’t riding in the street,” Cody Shetley said.

Cody Shetley was riding bicycles with Peyton shortly after school released. The two were riding west on 17th Avenue when Peyton entered the intersection and was struck by a white pickup driven by a 20-year-old man.

“She had the walk sign," Shetley said. "But the guy was just making a right turn on red, which is legal also. He was just looking at oncoming traffic and he didn’t look before he hit the gas.”

The driver remained on scene and has cooperated with the investigation. Longmont police are still looking into the crash but so far no charges have been filed.

“It’s horrible, it’s an awful accident and I hate that it happened," Mindy Shetley said. "But I don’t have hard feelings. I don’t wish any ill will on him.”

Instead, Mindy and Cody spoke out to say thanks to the community and complete strangers who have contributed to the memorial at the accident scene and online. In just a few days, nearly $25,000 has been raised on a GoFundMe page in Peyton's honor.

The funds will be used to help pay for expenses at a time when Mindy can't work and Cody is going to school to become a teacher.

“It just ensures that she’s going to be able to have the funeral, and the burial and the headstone and everything that she deserves," Mindy said.

Members of the public are invited to attend a celebration of life for Peyton at 1:30 p.m. Thursday at Life Bridge Church in Longmont. The family asks people to wear pink, and possibly glitter, in honor of Peyton.