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Students plan to wear red to honor life of SM South teen killed in I-435 wreck

Posted at 10:40 PM, Oct 23, 2018
and last updated 2018-10-24 10:01:26-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — There are signs of progress for the survivors of a crash that took the life of a Shawnee Mission South senior.

Chandan Rajanna, 17, died when an off-duty officer slammed into his car Sunday before the Chiefs game. The teen's sister and father continue to recover from their serious injuries.

On Tuesday, the 81-year-old father learned of the teen's passing.

"As much progress as he has made physically, emotionally that was the biggest blow he's had so far," Ravi Rajanna, Chandan's brother told 41 Action News.

Ravi remains in a self-described state of shock two days after losing his young brother.

On Sunday, the Rajanna's drove to the Chiefs game in two separate cars.

Chandan along with his father and sister were ahead of Ravi by a few minutes when a KCPD officer heading to an off-duty assignment at Arrowhead struck their car.

"As we were passing the accident ourselves we pretty horrified at the condition of the vehicle we saw," Ravi said.

He learned of Chandan's passing at the hospital.

"I think that spreading that message--you know what a great guy he was and you know what a great kid he was and how much potential he had is the way to honor him," Ravi said.

Chandan was exploring enrollment at the University of Kansas and the University of Colorado to pursue a career as a veterinarian.

"I still to this day have no idea why that accident occurred," KCPD Chief Rick Smith told reporters Tuesday morning.

During a press briefing, Chief Smith reiterated that with the help of the Missouri Highway Patrol they're conducting a thorough investigation.

"It doesn't matter if our officers are involved or any other citizen in the city. We're going to handle it the exact same way," Smith said.

In the meantime, Chandan's family hopes that one day they'll be able to forgive the officer.

"Right now, I don't even think about him being an officer or exactly what happened," Ravi said. "You think of the frustration for Chandan, that he was getting ready to set out on his life, that was taken from him and taken from us."

There are several tributes underway for Chandan.

Students at Shawnee Mission South are asked to wear red this Friday to remember their fellow classmate.

Later that evening at 6 p.m., there will be car meet at the Life Church on W. 135th in Overland Park in honor of Chandan who loved cars. More information can be found on the event's Facebook page