A 23-year-old graduate student at Northeastern University was struck and killed by a police SUV while she was walking in a crosswalk, officials say.
Jaahnavi Kandula, from Andhra Pradesh in India, was crossing the road in a crosswalk on Dexter Avenue North in Seattle around 8:00 p.m. on Monday, Jan. 23 when a marked police SUV hit her, inflicting life-threatening injuries, according to the Seattle Police Department.
Police located the young woman and performed CPR until fire fighters arrived and took over. Kandula, in critical condition, was transported to Harborview Medical Center where she later died.
Kandula left her single mother and sister behind in her hometown to further her education at Northeastern University and give her family a better life, according to a GoFundMe set up for her mother.
Kandula was pursuing a master’s degree in information systems in the College of Engineering and was expected to graduate in December 2023, according to Boston 25.
“Jaahnavi is remembered as a stellar student and a delightful and effervescent human being," David Thurman, dean and CEO of Northeastern University’s Seattle campus, said to Boston 25. "She was a close friend to many and friends shared that they loved her bubbly laugh, sense of humor and infectious personality. Her loss will be felt deeply by students, staff, and faculty across campus."
Her mother works as a teacher at a school in India, the GoFundMe said, and is left to shoulder the costs associated with her daughter's education loan.
"Jaahnavi`s family suffered an immense loss," the GoFundMe said. "Her mother's hopes and dreams are cut short now."
"The family would like to get some closure and would like to know the circumstances behind the death," the GoFundMe continued. "We demand that the Seattle Police and City officials release more information on the circumstances that have led to this untimely death. and what could have been done to avoid such a tragic accident? The family deserves answers to their questions, and her grieving mother deserves closure. We will continue to push police and city officials for answers."
An updated statement from Seattle police chief Adrian Diaz made on Monday, Jan. 30 identified the driver of the SUV as Kevin A. Dave, a certified Emergency Medical Technicion. The incident is being treated as a criminal matter by the Traffic Collision Investigation Squad, as are all serious traffic collisions on city streets.
“We are treating this investigation as we would any fatal collision investigation,” Diaz said.
After the investigation is completed, decisions about charging will be made by the King County Prosecutor’s Office.
A drug recognition expert responded at the time of the collision and found Dave to be unimpaired, Diaz said. Dave had turned his emergency lights on as well as his siren, the report continued.
Protesters gathered in Seattle to decry Kandula's killing, according to the Stranger.
"Whether a person is walking, running, rolling, or biking, no one should be at risk of death from a crash or collision," said Mayor Bruce Harrell in a statement. "We will continue to look to the data to determine where safety investments can and should be made, including regularly reassessing ongoing and future projects like the one at Thomas Street."
This case is currently under investigation by the Seattle Traffic Collision Investigation Squad.
The GoFundMe for Kandula's mother can be found here.
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