Seattle cop who fatally struck Indian student gets traffic infraction, no charges


The Seattle Police Department officer who fatally struck an Indian woman while responding to an overdose call in January 2023 has received a traffic infraction after dodging criminal charges.

Catch up: Officer Kevin Dave was reportedly driving up to 74 miles per hour — about three times the speed limit — when he struck Jaahnavi Kandula, 23, on Jan. 23, 2023. The impact, which occurred at the intersection of Dexter Avenue North and Thomas Street, knocked Kandula 138 feet and killed her later that night.

Decision: The King County Prosecutor’s Office said the evidence is consistent with Kandula “being distracted.” On Feb. 21, the office announced that Dave will not face criminal charges. On Friday, the Criminal Division of the Seattle City Attorney’s Office announced that he had been issued a traffic infraction for negligent driving in the second degree with a vulnerable user victim. This carries a maximum fine of $5,000.

Dive deeper: Investigation revealed that the crash took place while Kandula was walking on an unregulated crosswalk. Construction barriers reportedly obstructed her view of the traffic. Witnesses who heard the siren and saw the vehicle said she continued walking. She then started running as she approached the traffic lane, making a “panicked decision” to try to beat the speeding cruiser, prosecutors said.

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Dave, on the other hand, had his emergency lights on, but his siren was not activated continuously. Instead, he “chirped” it at the intersection. While he “attempted to avoid the collision by steering and braking,” those actions neither changed his direction nor stopped his cruiser. Ultimately, prosecutors determined that there was no sufficient evidence to prove that he had “conscious disregard for others safety.”

Reactions: More than two dozen people marched in a solidarity walk for Kandula on Sunday, slamming the recent decisions and calling for justice. “For someone to just walk scott-free right after taking someone’s life is not OK and we need accountability,” said Deepali Jamwal, one of the event’s organizers.

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What’s next: Kandula’s family has vowed to pursue civil action against Dave and the Seattle Police Department. Meanwhile, the Consulate General of India in Seattle has requested a review of the decision.

On the other hand, Daniel Auderer, the officer accused of making insensitive remarks after Kandula’s death, is scheduled for a disciplinary hearing on April 1.


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