WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – Jasper Harper, the father of 8-year-old Harmoney Harper, is speaking out after she died Wednesday morning.
It happened around 7:20 a.m. Wednesday in the 3300 block of E. Locust, just west of 47th Street South and Kansas Highway 15.
Harper says his daughter and his oldest son had walked outside to wait for their bus. The Sedgwick County Sheriff’s Office says the two were waiting outside when the girl went between two cars and got hit by a Derby Public School bus. The bus was not the bus they had been waiting for. Harmoney died at the scene.
“My wife said she heard my son screaming for his sister, and she came outside. I got woke up to ‘I need you now.’ I got dressed. Before I made it to the front door, I had heard, ‘Call 911, my daughter’s dead,'” said Jasper Harper.
He believes speed may have played a factor in the accident.
“My daughter wasn’t crossing 47th, where people are moving 40 mph. She was playing outside her home, where she felt safe,” said Harper.
The Sedgwick County Sheriff’s Office released an update Thursday morning saying the crash remains under investigation, but no charges are anticipated.
He wants his daughter to be remembered for how she loved life.
“She was very happy all the time, she loved school, she loved everyone, she loved life, she was wonderful,” said Harper.
A GoFundMe has been set up to help the family:
“At 7:20am 8/16/23 our family lost a very special little girl Harmoney Marie Harper, to a tragic bus accident. We are asking for help with funeral arrangements whatever people could offer for a fixed income family. As we know in this time of need all the good hearts of our human race will always step up to help. Harmoney’s laughter and smile will be forever missed. If you are unable to make a donation, please leave prayers and encouraging words for this family.”
Derby Public Schools
The Derby school district said Harmoney was a fourth-grade student at Oaklawn Elementary. She attended Derby Public Schools since kindergarten, starting at Cooper Elementary and moving to Oaklawn in first grade.
Oaklawn Principal Donna Osborn said Harmoney was a positive light and always happy.
“She was full of compliments for everyone around her,” Osborn said in a news release. “Any time you would see her, she had a smile on her face and was always the first to give everyone a hug each day. Her passing is a tremendous loss, and Harmoney will be missed greatly at Oaklawn.”
Heather Bohaty, Derby Public Schools superintendent, said the district is working alongside the family to provide support. She also said social workers will continue to support students and staff at the district schools.
Bohaty said each person reacts differently to tragedies. She offered these suggestions for talking to children about loss:
- Encourage your child to feel and talk about their emotions. Let them know it is OK to feel sad, angry or confused about what happened or even to feel nothing at all.
- Reassure your child that they are safe and secure.
- Explain truthfully but gently what has happened.
- Offer warmth, affection and your physical presence.
- Maintain the routine, stability and security in your child’s life as much as possible.
- Listen. Listen. Listen.