A student at Northeastern University’s Seattle campus was struck and killed by a police cruiser responding to a call last week.
Jaahnavi Kandula, 23, was run down by a Seattle Police Department SUV as she was crossing a heavily marked crosswalk near her campus in the South Lake Union neighborhood.
The officer had been responding to a ‘priority one’ call to provide aid to a man who had overdosed on drugs but did not need to be taken to the hospital. Police ruled the incident an accident, and returned the unnamed officer to duty shortly after the accident.
It is unclear if the police car stopped after hitting the student.
Kandula was a graduate student set to earn her masters in information systems. Her family recalled her as a ‘brilliant’ person.
Kandula was struck down while crossing Dexter Avenue North near where it crosses Thomas Street in Seattle.
The intersection’s crosswalks are heavily marked by bright yellow reflective indicators, a large neon sign, and are surrounded by bike lanes and a wide median.
Officers on the scene found Kandula still alive, and performed CPR until the fire department arrived and took over life-saving efforts.
She was transported to a nearby hospital there died of her injuries the following day.
Cops said they were not investigating the accident as a use of force case, and noted they did not believe the officer had intended to hit Kandula.
‘At this point in the investigation, we have no reason to believe the officer intended to hit that woman,’ a Seattle PD spokesperson said.
Police have declined name the officer, only revealing they worked for the department since November 2019.
The officer who was behind the wheel has not been suspended, police said, but was merely told to take off their shift following the accident as a ‘release day’ to deal with a ‘traumatic or upsetting’ experience.
Seattle police said they would be withholding information about the police report as soon as they were able to do so, and ‘in consultation’ with Kandula’s family.
‘We acknowledge that there is understandably tremendous interest in the surrounding facts, but for purposes of both preserving the integrity of the investigation and respecting the family’s right to privacy will not be putting out information over and beyond what has already been provided,’ the department said in a statement to DailyMail.com
‘We will provide all publicly releasable information, including the report, once we are able to do so, and in consultation with the family.’
‘We extend our deepest condolences to Kandula’s family and friends. This incident is a terrible tragedy for everyone involved,’ the department added.
Kandula’s family said her death left a ‘huge hole’ in the hearts of people who knew her.
‘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,’ they said in a statement.
‘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.’
A GoFundMe was set up to help her family pay for Kandula’s hospital bills, and to take care of the college loans taken out for her education.