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Family celebrates 11-year-old's birthday without her

10:47 PM, Nov 17, 2013   |    comments
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St. Petersburg, Florida -- A family celebrated their 11-year-old's birthday without the birthday girl on Sunday.

The party turned into a celebration Sonia Savage's life.

Sonia was killed on Friday while she was riding her scooter. A truck ran over her at 1st Street and 58th Avenue in St. Petersburg. Police say Sonia only looked one direction before crossing. She never saw the truck until it was too late. 

Sonia turned 11 years old on Thursday. She had planned her party with a dunk tank for the weekend. 

Her family said Sonia was filled with energy, enthusiasm for life, and adventure. She taught herself to play a piano watching YouTube and loved to play in her trees outside her St. Petersburg home.

She made all her friends promise to let her dunk them at her birthday in the dunk tank.

On Saturday, the dunk tank owner called to confirm the delivery and Sonia's father, Bobby Reichold, told them they would not need it anymore.

"They asked why, so I told them what happened to Sonia and they said they wanted to donate it to us for the day," said Reichold. "I told them we were still planning on celebrating her life, but I wanted to pay them. They refused the money. It was so nice."

All the children used the dunk tank. Either they threw the ball to make the dunk or were dunked themselves.

"I promised Sonia I would go in," said her best friend, Devin Flack.  "I miss her and I love her."

Flack was with Sonia when the accident happened. 

"I told her to stop when I saw the truck," he said. "It was sad and I ran on my scooter to tell her mom."

They live close by to where it happened. Savage ran with Flack over to where her daughter was lying on the ground.

"As hard as it was, I sang I happy birthday and said my good-byes and told her I'd see her again," said Savage.

On Saturday, Savage's older daughter found a story that Sonia wrote. It was dated October 23rd. It was titled "The Tree That Loved A Girl."

"Sonia was in trouble that day because she did not do her chores," said Savage. "So I said, 'Maybe you should write.'"

She did. She wrote about a girl who was best friends with a tree.  In the story, Sonia wrote:

"... The girl loved swinging on his branches and writing in his bark. But then one day something terrible happened. The tree heard a loud noise and knew something was wrong. Then he saw the girl and he gasped. Then he saw a truck drove away with the girl. Then the next day the tree was sobbing and could not stop crying. Then the parents of the little girl drove up in a car when they got out they were sobbing like the tree and that is when the tree knew the little girl died....Over the years the tree died but then all of a sudden the tree began to see the little girl again then they both were in a good place. Then they lived happily ever after in Heaven together. The End. By: Sonia. "

"It's like Sonia knew, she knew something," said Savage. "I know it was a blessing from God that I have that letter. It helps give me a little bit of peace."

The family released balloons, saying they hope she catches them in Heaven.

Sonia's school, Shore Acres Elementary, will host a prayer vigil at her home on Friday. 

Her funeral is set for Saturday.

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