FORT MYERS, Fla. - The family of a woman hit and killed while riding her bicycle over the weekend is talking to WINK News. They say 46-year-old Tracey Kleinpell was a light to the world. And while they say the world is a lot darker place without her here, their hope is people will continue her legacy of kindness, compassion, and zest for life.
Saturday started like any other for Tracey and Gordon Kleinpell with a long bike ride to Captiva Island. But as they pedaled over the Sanibel Causeway, tragedy struck.
Florida Highway Patrol says a truck veered over the lane, knocking Tracey over the guard rail and into the water. Investigators believe the driver fell asleep. Gordon immediately called Tracey's mother.
"I said, oh my God, I hope nothing is broken," Donna Henault said. "I said you guys are leaving for your two-week bike trip in Italy next week. And he said, she's in the water... and they are trying to resuscitate her."
Boaters below held Tracey's hand and did all they could to save her.
"Even then, I thought they would do it," Henault said.
But it wasn't enough. Perhaps a sign, within an hour of Tracey's passing, a double rainbow appeared over her hometown in Connecticut.
"They named it 'Tracey's rainbow,'" Tracey's sister Tina Andrews said.
She was a diabetes nurse, devoted to animals, and an athlete. Just a few day earlier, Tracey's Zumba class threw her a surprise 46th birthday party.
"Biking was her love," Donna Henault said. "If there was anything to be said, we lost her doing something she loved, but somehow that doesn't help."
Tracey's family prays this is a lesson to drivers, and that no other family is forced to endure the same heartbreak. "Pay attention to your driving, pay attention to where you're going," Tracey's father George Henault said.
"Our life is changed forever," Donna Henault said. "We want her back."
Tracey's family wants to thank the boaters who tried to save her, from the bottom of their hearts. A funeral service will be held Thursday afternoon at New Life Assembly in Lehigh.