The girl who died after being hit by a Wichita police car will be laid to rest Thursday. Twelve year-old Suhani Bhakta died Sunday night while crossing the street in the 1600 block of south Broadway.
The accident is under investigation, but Wichita police say the officer's vision may have been blocked by another car when the accident happened.
Bhakta's funeral will be held Thursday at one o'clock at the Broadway Mortuary. Bhakta was a 7th grader at Mayberry Middle School in Wichita.
Original Story, February 12, 2012
A Wichita police officer is on administrative leave as the Kansas Highway Patrol investigates a deadly crash that claimed the life of a 12-year-old girl.
Suhani Bhakta was struck after she dashed in front of the officer's patrol car Sunday evening in the 1600 block of south Broadway, WPD Deputy Chief Nelson Mosley said.
The officer, a two-year veteran assigned to Patrol South, was responding to a burglary call in the area when the accident happened. His lights and siren were not active, standard protocol for that type of call.
Nelson said Bhakta and her 14-year-old cousin were crossing from the Frontier Motel to a grocery store on the other side of Broadway. The girls ran across the southbound lanes. The older child stopped in the center median and Bhakta continued into the northbound lanes, despite a warning from her cousin to stop.
An SUV that was traveling north braked hard and avoided the girl. However, the police officer, who was one lane to the right and slightly behind the SUV, could not avoid hitting her. The Kansas Highway Patrol is investigating the officer's speed and whether his vision was obstructed by the SUV.
Mosley said four witnesses were interviewed at the scene.
"What we're seeing is they're pretty consistent on what happened or what they saw, you know, that the two ran into the street. This is an unfortunate tragedy, you know, that affects both the officers and the family of the victim," Mosley said.
Bhakta was a 7th grader at Mayberry Middle School in Wichita.