Mother of four dies in Scott crash

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By Jamie Baker-Nantz

Sunny Harper was just that – a mother with a sunny personality and a bright smile.


“She was pretty happy and bubbly,” said Sheila Norman, Sunny’s friend and landlord. “She loved her family and friends.”

The Dry Ridge mother was traveling with her husband and three of her four children to pick up her new glasses in Georgetown when the Harper’s 1991 Toyota Tercel was struck by a van pulling out of a driveway.

The 2000 Dodge Caravan, driven by Helen Wallace of Georgetown, collided with the Tercel just before noon. Sunny was in the passenger seat and was unresponsive at the scene.

Sunny, 25, a cashier at the Dry Ridge Wal-Mart, was taken by the Scott County Fire Department to the University of Kentucky Medical Center where she was pronounced dead.

Her husband, Erik, received several injuries including a broken sternum, hand and injuries to his knee. He and the children were also taken to UK’s Medical Center. Erik and their son, Erik Harper Jr., who suffers from a concussion and a broken leg, were kept overnight. Raiden and Leilani, two of the couple’s other children, were treated for bumps and bruises and released from the hospital on March 13. The toddlers are 1, 2 and 3 years old.

“Erik said the last thing he remembers Sunny saying that day was that she wished they could spend forever driving around enjoying each other’s company,” Norman said.

Sunny’s body was taken to Frankfort for an autopsy.

Police said everyone was wearing seat belts, but Sunny did not have on a lap belt.

She was nearly three months pregnant at the time of her death.

Sunny loved NASCAR. Her favorite driver was Kyle Busch. Friends say she also enjoyed planting flowers.

“I’ll miss her laugh and smiles,” said Wanda Irvin, a neighbor. “She got along with everyone and she’ll definitely be missed.”

Norman considered herself Sunny’s friend first and landlord second.

“I’ll just miss her chasing Erik up the sidewalk to my office because they wanted to tell me something,” Norman said. “She was a character and the whole complex is upset.”

The Harpers have lived in Locust Ridge Apartments for four years. The couple had been married six years at the time of her death.

In addition to her husband and the three toddlers involved in the wreck, Sunny is survived by a daughter, Calista Harper; her father, Sherman Proctor of Union; sister, Sara Proctor of Union and grandmother, Emma Willoughby of Williamstown. Her mother, Kathleen Willoughby Proctor, preceded her in death.

Visitation will be held from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. March 21 at Elliston-Stanley Funeral Home in Williamstown, with funeral services at 2 p.m. Burial will be in Hillside Chapel in Cincinnati.

“Erik bought her a NASCAR T-shirt for Valentine’s Day and that’s what he said he wanted her buried in,” Norman said.