Police issue update on fatal crash involving off-duty police officer
Publish Date 10/22/2018
For more information, contact: KCPD Media Unit 816-234-5170
“I want to start by saying that we are all devastated about yesterday’s events on 435 when an off-duty KCPD officer driving a department van was involved in a fatal crash,” Chief Richard Smith said. “Our hearts go out to the victims of this crash and their loved ones who are hurting.”
Now that police have notified those family members, the department can identify the driver who was killed in the crash as 17-year-old Chandan Rajanna of Overland Park, Kansas. A 49-year-old woman and 81-year-old man who were passengers in the vehicle remain in extremely critical condition. The group was on their way to the Chiefs’ game.
“Speaking on behalf of all members of KCPD, we wish this accident never occurred,” Chief Smith said.
Preliminary investigation indicates the officer rear-ended the vehicle driven by Chandan Rajanna, triggering a chain-reaction crash involving four total vehicles. The officer was on his way to work an off-duty employment assignment at the Chiefs’ game. The officer has been with KCPD for six years and is currently assigned to the Police Athletic League, where he works as a mentor and coach for urban-core youth. Many of them are the same age as Chandan Rajanna, which makes this all the more tragic. The officer will be off work for several days recovering from injuries he suffered in the crash. One other person in one of the vehicles that was hit in the chain reaction complained of minor pain and was treated and released by ambulance crews at the scene.
Police do not know yet what led up to the crash. The KCPD Accident Investigation Unit conducts a thorough review of every fatality and serious-injury crash in Kansas City, Mo., and they’re doing the same in this case. The Missouri Highway Patrol also is assisting with this investigation.
“We want to do this right, not fast, so it will take some time to determine what happened,” Chief Smith said.
In any fatal crash in Kansas City, Mo., the accident investigators gather physical evidence from the vehicles and scene, reconstruct the crash scene (which they continued to do today), interview those involved as well as witnesses, and check for impairment of drivers. Impairment has been ruled out in this incident. Then the investigators submit that case file to the prosecutor’s office to determine whether any criminal charges should be filed. This case will be no different.
“We have been in contact with the family of the victims, and we are hurting with them today,” Chief Smith said.