KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Friends are mourning the loss of a young woman hit and killed early Sunday morning.
Police say witnesses told them cars were drag racing down Main Street near 43rd Street when they hit 23-year-old Zahara Kathawalla. The driver turned themselves in early Monday morning, and police are investigating.
Madeline Straley and Beth Tjeerdsma met Kathawalla around a year ago when she moved to Kansas City for a job. They were inseparable ever since.
“I love you, and I miss you,” Straley said.
Both women said Kathawalla was naturally radiant, funny and kind. She spent most of her last day with Tjeerdsma doing some of her favorite things.
“One of our favorite things to do together was lay in a park on a blanket and just listen to music,” Tjeerdsma said. “We would just sit even — on her last day, we did that actually. We just laid on a blanket in the park and looked up at the sky, and I remember her saying what a great day it was.”
“For that to happen to someone so close to me — it’s just unbelievable,” Straley said.
Around 2:30 a.m. Sunday, Kathawalla and a friend were crossing Main Street on their way home. Police said two cars came racing through the intersection.
Kathawalla was hit, and died at the scene. Both drivers fled.
Later that day, police said they recovered the Ford Focus that hit Kathawalla. The car was severely damaged, and its tags were removed.
“You never think that something like that is going to happen like that to someone that you care about, I guess, something so sudden and so quick,” Tjeerdsma said. “She was here, and then she wasn’t. So suddenly.”
The driver turned themselves in early Monday morning. Police said they are gathering evidence before prosecutors file charges.
“There’s never going to be closure on it, and there’s never going to be a resolution because she ceases to exist. That’s just the only way I can think about it,” Straley said. “I don’t really know what to think, but it’s better than not having been found.”
“Driving safe and always being careful is so important because you never think this can happen, and then it so easily can,” Tjeerdsma said.
KCPD has not released the identity of the driver. They are working on evidence related to the car and the condition of the driver at the time of the crash.
Once all evidence is gathered they will present their recommendation of charges to the Jackson County Prosecuting Attorney.