KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — A Knoxville Native and professionally ranked bull rider is mourning the loss of his daughter. Brooklyn Spears, 9, was hit and killed by a pickup while staying at her mom’s home in Florida, according to her dad, Joshua Spears.
Joshua Spears is now in Florida searching for answers.
Spears was on his way to a bull riding competition in Texas when he said he got a call that his daughter had been injured. He dropped everything and drove straight toward Florida, making it as far as Atlanta before another call came in.
“I got a phone call that she passed away, and ever since then it’s just been really difficult to get through the process,” Spears said.
A Florida Highway Patrol report explains what happened. The report says Brooklyn Spears was hit by a pickup in a driveway, after she stepped out from between two parked cars into the pathway of a third. But why it happened is something Joshua Spears is struggling to understand.
“Nobody has given us answers to what happened and why, and I’m not leaving here until I do find that closure,” he said.
He said while he’s been in Florida, his strength has come from the people here in East Tennessee.
“I’m glad and I’m thankful for every one of our friends, and everyone involved in the state of Tennessee, to help me get through this process because it’s very very hard and difficult.”
Spears is now holding tight to memories of his daughter Brooklyn, who would have turned 10 in February. Their favorite thing to do together was to go to daddy-daughter dances. Spears said he was wrapped around Brooklyn’s finger.
“She wanted to go to this fairy tale ball,” he laughed through tears. Of course, dad couldn’t say no. “We had just a full day of it. We went and had breakfast next to the grist mill in Norris, Tennessee where we did a photo shoot as well and it was just the best day ever.”
Spears added, “We went to that fairytale ball, and I ended up being the only dad there and I was the only parent dressed up.”
Those are the times he says he will cherish most.
“She was my world,” he said through tears. “She was the sweetest person you could ever meet. She never met strangers, she was always friendly to everybody. Always helping, wanting to learn new things.”
Spears is now making funeral plans and travel arrangements. He said he’s been trying to work with Florida law enforcement on his daughter’s case. No charges have been filed at this time against the man who was driving, but the case is still under investigation.
The family has set up a GoFundMe in order to help with funeral and travel expenses.