Leavenworth Girl Drowns Driving Utility Vehicle
LEAVENWORTH COUNTY, Kan. — A young Leavenworth County girl died on Thursday night in a utility vehicle accident on her family’s farm.
Shelbee Heim, 10, was killed after the rough terrain vehicle, or RTV, she was riding on slipped off the edge of a pond and rolled over onto the drivers side, pinning her underwater.
Her father, Gary Heim, found her but was unable to move the vehicle off of her. He called 911, but rescuers were unable to save her.
“I got chores done and I didn’t see her and I thought, you know, maybe I better go check on her. So I crawled on my other little four-wheeler, and I come through the gate there, and the house dog came and met me at the gate, and I knew something was wrong,” said Heim, who says that he purchased the RTV just last Saturday.
Heim says that his daughter loved to drive it.
“Shelbee and I almost every night would climb on it and I’d let her drive,” he said. “I know we talked safety here the night before last night, and we got through talking safety, and she said, ‘Daddy, you put your seatbelt on. I’m not leaving ’till you do.’”
When he got to the pond on Thursday night, he says that he knew his daughter was pinned underneath.
“There was nothing I could do. I screamed real loud, ‘Oh no, not my little one,’ you know, I jumped down in the water and tried picking it up,” said Heim.
Kickapoo volunteer fire fighters got his daughter out of the water, but it was too late to save her life.
“Shelbee was daddy’s little sunshine,” said Heim. He says that his daughter played softball, got excellent grades in school, had a lot of friends and loved to help out on her family’s farm. She couldn’t wait to start fifth grade and had just gone back-to-school shopping.
“She had to show me some of her new clothes. She was just on cloud nine. She was really looking forward to the school year,” said Heim, recalling the now bittersweet memory. “I don’t know what God’s plan is you know? But I know she’s being taken care of right now, you know, and I know that she’s in heaven.”
Children’s Mercy Hospital warns adults and parents about the dangers of children driving or riding on utility vehicles. For more on ATV safetly, click here.
A memorial fund has been set up in Shelbee’s memory for her unexpected funeral costs.
Exchange National Bank and Trust
PO Box 158
Easton, KS 66020