New York, July 24 (IANS) A speeding cop, who struck and killed a 23-year-old Indian student in January this year, has admitted in newly-released bodycam footage that he “f–ked up” after the tragic crash in Seattle.
Jaahnavi Kandula, a student of the Northeastern University campus in South Lake Union, was walking near Dexter Avenue North and Thomas Street when she was hit by a Seattle Police vehicle driven by Kevin Dave on January 23.
Dave, who was responding to a “high priority” call that day at 8 pm, had chirped his siren, but did not have it running consistently, as he plowed into Kandula, The New York Post reported.
Prosecutors, who released the footage, were weighing charges against Dave for his failure to deploy his siren to “warn others of the emergency nature of the situation,” as required by police protocol.
“I f–ked up,” Dave was heard saying after the accident at the intersection where he accelerated up to 74 miles per hour at one point, much higher than the prescribed limits of 25 and 20 mph respectively.
According to the footage, moments after reaching the top speed, he slowed down the car before striking Kandula at the intersection.
The bodycam video also showed Dave performing CPR on Kandula after the collision.
“Lights were on. I was chirping the sirens…she was in the crosswalk. She saw me, she started running through the crosswalk. Slammed on my breaks. Started staying back where she should before crossing,” Dave can be heard in the video telling a responding officer, according to The Post.
“I can have a hundred minutes. I could have…there’s nothing for me to do right now, but sit. And that is the f–king worst thing that…you just have to sit here. So many questions that are unanswered, so many questions,” he can be heard saying in other bodycam footage.
Officials with the county prosecutor’s office said a decision on possible charges will likely come by early August.
Just after the accident, Seattle Police Department spokesperson Detective Valerie Carson had said that “at this point in the investigation, we have no reason to believe the officer intended to hit that woman”.
Carson, without naming Dave then, had further said that Kandula’s death will not be investigated as a use of force case.
Kandula came to the US in 2021 and was pursuing a Master of Science in Information Systems at the College of Engineering, Northeastern University.
Daughter of a single mother who earned less than $200 a month and had taken an education loan, Kandula was set to graduate this December.
The Seattle Police Department had expressed its “deepest condolences to Kandula’s family, and called it “a terrible tragedy for everyone involved”.