SEATTLE - FOX 13 has obtained the audio of the dispatch call leading up to the moment a Northeastern University student was hit and killed by a Seattle police patrol vehicle.
23-year-old Jaahnavi Kandula was hit by a Seattle police car at the intersection of Dexter Ave. N and Thomas St. in the South Lake Union neighborhood. Seattle Police said the officer driving the patrol vehicle was responding to a priority one call when the incident happened.
Priority one calls are defined by an immediate threat to life. The call in question for an overdose.
However, when the Seattle Fire Department dispatched the call, they did not mention any type of threat. A dispatcher later described the person as alert and responsive.
"The person overdosing is calling it in himself, his name is Alex. He has refused to give the rest of his name… he wants to stay on the phone with us until officers arrive," dispatchers said during the call.
Shortly after the call, Kandula is hit while walking in a crosswalk.
The officer calls in the crash, and dispatchers can be heard asking the officer if they're at the location where the overdose call was based.
The officer's response initially seemed confused as to where they were, saying they were coming up on Aurora Ave. They then corrected their location and confirmed they were on Thomas Street and Dexter Ave.
Kandula was taken to Harborview Medical Center, where she later died from her injuries.
Photo from the family
A day after the deadly crash, Seattle Police initially said the officer involved was responding at the request of the Seattle Fire Department. However, 10 minutes later, they released and updated statement saying the officer was responding with the fire department.
SPD has not revealed the name of the officer involved, only that they had been with the department for three years.
On Wednesday, FOX 13 asked SPD if the responding officer had their lights and sirens on, and how fast they were driving at the time of the crash. The speed limit is 25 mph on Dexter Ave. N and 20 mph on Thomas Street.
The agency told us that they can't answer those questions right now.
SPD issued a statement on its website:
"We want to acknowledge the many questions we are receiving regarding the collision Monday night between an SPD officer and a pedestrian. As is the case with any serious motor vehicle collision, this incident is under investigation by SPD’s Traffic Collision Investigation Squad, consistent with SPD policy. 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. 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 Ms. Kandula’s family and friends. This incident is a terrible tragedy for everyone involved."
While SPD remains tight-lipped on the investigation, more details have been revealed about Kandula.
Kandula came to Seattle from Bengaluru, India in 2021 to pursue a masters degree at Northeastern University, the college said. She was pursuing a Master of Science in Information Systems at the College of Engineering and was scheduled to graduate in December 2023.
"Jaahnavi demonstrated strong analytical abilities in large-scale data management and a passion for resolving technical issues. She worked as a Junior Executive at CAMTek Solutions for two years examining technical and artistic outputs. Additionally, she worked as an Administrative & Events Assistant on the Seattle campus, supporting event management and providing administrative help. Jaahnavi is remembered as a stellar student and a delightful and effervescent human being. 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," the college said in a letter to students.
A GoFundMe for her family said she left behind a single mother, who is a teacher in India. Kandu's family told FOX 13 that her mother's hopes and dreams have been cut short.
"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," the family said, in part, in a statement.
The GoFundMe has surpassed its goal of $125,000.
Detectives from the traffic collision investigation squad are leading this investigation. The Office of Police Accountability is investigating.