Woman in Crosswalk Hit, Killed by Police Officer Responding to High-Priority Call
A 23-year-old college graduate student was killed in Seattle Jan. 23 by a speeding police car.
Jaahnavi Kandula was walking the crosswalk at Dexter Avenue North and Thomas Street around 8 p.m., when a Seattle police vehicle hit the young woman.
Police performed CPR on Kandula until Seattle Fire Department arrived, who drove her to Harborview Medical Center, according to KING-TV.
She later died.
Kandula was expected to graduate from Seattle’s Northeastern University in December.
The Traffic Collision Investigation Squad is looking into the incident.
Seattle Police Department later identified the officer who struck Kandula as Kevin Dave; he has been with the department since 2019, according to a statement from SPD Chief Adrian Diaz.
Dave had been responding as an EMT to a Priority 1 call; he had his emergency lights on and was clearing intersections with his sirens, Diaz said.
A drug recognition expert on scene that night did not find evidence Dave was impaired, Diaz said.
“I feel bad for the officer,” a source who reportedly heard the collision told KIRO-TV. “I can’t imagine how he feels. And I saw the emotion from him, and he seemed pretty bent out of shape about it.”
The police chief offered his sympathy to the Kandula family in a statement on Monday.
“First and foremost, and from my heart, this collision is a terrible tragedy for all involved. But especially and most importantly for Ms. Kandula’s family,” Diaz said.
“I reached out to her family, and we’re working with them as the investigation into this collision proceeds. And among my highest concerns is respecting the family’s privacy and their wishes concerning the release of information,” Diaz said.
Kandula’s family held a vigil for her on Friday and released a statement, according to KING-TV.
“We are truly heartbroken. Jaahnavi was a brilliant student with a bright future. Jaahnavi’s smile was radiant, and her bubbly personality warmed the hearts of every person she came in contact with. She had an innate ability to connect with people from all walks of life. Jaahnavi’s tragic and untimely death has left her family and community with a huge hole in their hearts that will never be repaired.
“She was a daughter to a single mother who teaches elementary school in India. In spite of earning less than 200 USD per month, her mother educated Jaahnavi and encouraged her to the United States hoping Jaahnavi would have a better future and a better life abroad. Her mother’s hopes and dreams are cut short now,” the statement read.
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