DERBY, Kan. (KSNW) — A fiery crash killed a 3-year-old girl and left her mother critically injured Monday evening at a Derby gas station.
Around 5:30 p.m., a vehicle was traveling on a nearby road when it left the street and went into the QuikTrip parking lot, striking a car that was being filled with gas. The gas pump was knocked over, causing a significant explosion.
“So you had a huge amount of gasoline and fairly significant collision occurring at the same time, really all it takes is a spark,” said Derby Police Chief Robert Lee.
Inside the car was 3-year-old Harper Ivy. She suffered fatal injuries. Her mother, 31-year-old Stephanie Corey, was filling the car with gas. She was severely injured and taken to a local hospital.
Tami Portela arrived home at the time of the crash and heard a scream.
“Once you’re a mom, you know that scream, and it was just different the second scream it was just different,” said Tami Portela, who lives nearby and saw the crash aftermath.
Portela called 911 as soon as she realized what happened at the gas station.
“That’s a scream of a mom who has somebody in that car,” said Portela.
Throughout Tuesday, a memorial grew for Ivy.
“I’ve been seeing it on Facebook all morning, and so it has just been resonating with us since we read about it,” said Joy, who knows the father of Ivy.
Joy and her friend Andrea placed flowers to show their support.
“Right now, you know the family, they need their space, so this is our way so they know we are thinking of them,” said Andrea. “She was a mom just pumping her gas, and instantly you know, that whole family’s life changed. It could have been anybody.”
Many still wonder how this happened, Derby Police Chief Robert Lee said his team is looking at a number of causes of the crash.
“Is it just simply an accident? Is it a vehicle defect with the actual vehicle itself? Is there a medical reason behind it? Is there any other extenuating circumstance behind it?” said Chief Lee.
He said it will take some time to get those answers.
Police have not released the name of the driver who hit the vehicle pumping gas. That person was heading north on K-15 from Sumner County Monday just before the crash happened.
“They turned that corner onto Meadowlark something happened that caused that vehicle to move into the parking lot of the QT and strike the car that was filling with gas,” said Chief Lee.
Chief Lee said they know the mechanics of how the car traveled, and now they need to work backward to see why it took the path it did.
Once the Derby Police Department determines its findings in the investigation, it will be turned over to the District Attorney’s Office to see if charges will be filed in the case.
A GoFundMe has been set up for the family, and as of Friday, April 28, its raised $79,308.
QuikTrip is not offering gas at its Kansas Highway 15 and Meadowlark Boulevard location until further notice.