KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- A spokesperson for the Shawnee Mission School District confirmed to FOX4 Monday that the person killed in the multi-vehicle crash along I-435 near the Sports Complex over the weekend was a young man who was still in high school.
Spokesperson David Smith said 17-year-old Chandan Rajanna was a senior at Shawnee Mission South. His father and older sister also sustained serious injuries in the crash.
The crash closed northbound I-435 at Stadium Dr, and the scene was cleared just after 7:30 p.m. Two off-duty Kansas City police officers were also treated for injuries.
KCPD says that its preliminary investigation shows that an officer on his way to work an off-duty assignment at the Kansas City Chiefs game rear-ended Rajanna's vehicle, causing a chain-reaction crash involving four vehicles.
KCPD says the officer is a six-year veteran currently assigned to the Police Athletic League where he works as a coach and mentor for youth in the urban core.
“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 stated in a news release. “Speaking on behalf of all members of KCPD, we wish this accident never occurred.”
KCPD's Accident Investigation Unit and the Missouri Highway Patrol are both examining the deadly crash. While they're still gathering physical evidence, investigators have ruled out impairment in this crash.
Shawnee Mission South High School will have additional help available for those needing support during this tragedy.
The school district sent the following message home to parents:
Dear Shawnee Mission South Families,
I have some very sad news to share. We were notified that South senior Chandan Rajanna passed away last night. He was the victim in the fatality accident that occurred on I-435 near the stadium before the Chiefs game last night. Chandan’s father and older sister were also seriously injured in the accident. At this time, more details regarding the accident are still under investigation. We have reached out to his family to provide condolences and support in this difficult time.
We want you to know that we are here to help in any way we can. Our crisis response team is available for any students that need support. We will have school staff, additional district counselors, social workers, and school psychologists available to support and visit with students. In addition, I encourage you to talk to your student about this loss. Please let us know if your student is struggling so that we can provide assistance and support to your child at school. Counseling and support will continue to be available for any students in need throughout the week.
Please continue to keep Chandan’s family and friends in your thoughts and prayers.
Dr. Todd Dain