KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — The 9-year-old daughter of a Knoxville bull rider died Thursday after she was hit by a pickup outside a Florida home, according to a Florida Highway Patrol incident report.

Hunter LaRue said the young daughter of his friend, ranked Professional Bull Rider Joshua Spears, died after being hit by a truck on Dec. 30. LaRue described Spears’ daughter, Brooklyn Grace Spears, as “a sweetheart who loved her little brother.”

Joshua Spears had been heading to a bull riding competition in Texas when he got the call that Brooklyn had been injured. He immediately left to get to his daughter in Florida, but while on his way he learned that she had died in surgery.

“She’s never met a stranger and she came at you with open arms,” Spears said of his daughter.

Currently, Spears is in Florida trying to get funeral and travel arrangements in order.

“In the rodeo community, we’re all a close, tight-knit family, this is hurting all of us,” LaRue said. “That baby was close to all of us and they really need all the support they can get.”

Brooklyn Grace Spears. (Photo via Josh Spears, used with permission)

An incident report from the Florida Highway Patrol states a 27-year-old Fort Meyers, Fla. man was driving a truck that entered a residential driveway along Phlox Drive in Lee County, Fla. when the child pedestrian entered the path of the vehicle. She had been between two parked vehicles within the same driveway. She was initially taken to the Gulf Coast Hospital but was later transported to another hospital, where she died.

A GoFundMe was shared by LaRue in order to help the Spears family with funeral and travel expenses.

The Florida Highway Patrol said Friday their thoughts and prayers are with the families involved.

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