A Kansas father is speaking out after he says a school bus driver struck and killed his 8-year-old daughter on Wednesday morning.
Jasper Harper says his daughter, Harmoney Harper, and his oldest son had walked outside to wait for their bus when she was fatally struck.
According to the Sedgwick County Sheriff’s Office, the two were waiting outside when a Derby Public School bus – not the one they were waiting for – hit Harmoney around 7:20 a.m. after she walked between two cars. She died at the scene.
“My wife said she heard my son screaming for his sister, and she came outside,” recalled Jasper Harper. “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.'”
He believes speed may have played a factor in the accident, which happened in the 3300 block of East Locust, just west of 47th Street South and Kansas Highway 15.
“My daughter wasn’t crossing 47th, where people are moving 40 mph. She was playing outside her home, where she felt safe,” said Harper.
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.
“We are heartbroken by the loss of one of our students,” Derby superintendent Heather Bohaty told The Wichita Eagle in a statement. “Students and staff will be supported by additional social workers from schools across our district.”
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.”
A sheriff’s office spokesperson told KTLA sister station KSNW that, as of Thursday, the school bus driver does not face any charges but the investigation was ongoing.