Derby copes with the deaths of two young men in a week

DERBY, Kansas – Back to back tragedies hit the community of Derby in one week’s time.

Daniel Flores, 25 was killed while working at Steckline Communications and Philipp “Doobie” Wellemeyer died after an ATV accident Sunday afternoon in the Big Ditch. 

Both men graduated from the same class at Derby High School.

The family of Philipp “Doobie” Wellemeyer is planning his funeral on the same day family and friends gathered for the funeral of Daniel Flores.

“From what I can remember (funeral services) what I liked the most about it was that Daniel wasn’t always the best at what he did, but he gave 110%,” said Chris Griebling, family friend.

“Doobie has always been that way,” said Lyndee McNamee, family friend. “He was a good boy and he loved life.”

For some people in the Derby community, relying on the love, support, and comfort from friends and family during this difficult time has been getting them through a very tragic week.

“It’s such a great community where people really do come together,”said Griebling. “They really do seem to understand the hurt and lost. It could happen to any of us. It could absolutely happen to any of us.”

Chris Griebling and Lyndee McNamee have lived in Derby for more than 20-years and have sons close in age with Daniel Flores and Doobie Wellemeyer, nicknamed after the “Dobee” in the Romper Room Children’s program.

Both attended Derby High School and graduated from the same class in 2007.

“I can’t personally imagine the hurt that they’re going through,” said Griebling. “They should know how loved they were.”

The Sedgwick County Sheriff’s Office says Wellemeyer was riding ATVs with JW Waldschmidt, 21 and another friend in the Big Ditch area Sunday afternoon.

Two of them crashed into a drainage ditch killing Wellemeyer instantly and sent Waldschmidt to the hospital with broken bones.

Those who knew Doobie didn’t think they would say goodbye so soon.

“I last saw him at church in November,” said McNamee. “He came up to me and genuinely put his arm around me and hugged me and  I knew that he loved me.”

Wellemeyer was an eagle scout and a new husband. He got married in August 2013.

Waldschmidt is expected to be released from the hospital Monday night.

Deputies tell KSN that it’s possible the ATV accident will result in fines. They said that trespassing in the Big Ditch carries fines up to $525, but there’s no word on whether fines will be issued in this case.

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