Sandhya Khadka was only a teenager, but she seemed much older. At 17, she had already left her native Nepal, come to the United States and earned her associate degree. She planned to start her own clothing line, or maybe own a chain of hotels, and always focus on women’s issues.
“This girl could do it,” said family friend Writu Kakshapati at a vigil for Sandhya Thursday evening.
But her plans were cut short. Sandhya was killed Monday morning when she was hit by a pickup as she was crossing Fifth Avenue Northeast at Northeast 115th Street in Seattle’s Pinehurst neighborhood. A green Ford Ranger that was traveling south on Fifth Avenue Northeast hit her around 8:20 a.m., Seattle police said. She died at the scene.
On Thursday, family, friends and members of Seattle’s Nepalese community held a vigil for her at the scene of the accident to remember Sandhya and to sign a petition calling for a safer intersection.
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Sandhya left Nepal last year to go to school in Seattle and was staying with a friend of her parents. She missed her mother, who is still in Nepal, but was enjoying working and going to school full time at North Seattle College. She was an active member of the college’s Feminist Alliance.
Sandhya was “all about feminism, but she was caring, not militant,” her friend and classmate Jane Herriott said. The two sat next to each other in their accounting class.
“She was going to make such changes in the world,” Herriott said.
After the accident, the driver of the pickup was evaluated by police, who determined the driver wasn’t impaired.
There is no crosswalk at the intersection, even though many people cross the street to get to the 41 bus, Kakshapati said. Vigil attendees signed a petition asking that changes be made to the street to make it safer. The Pinehurst Community Council applied for a crosswalk last year, but the proposal was rejected.
“Crossing that street, it could be anybody, our brothers, our sisters, our fathers,” Kakshapati said. “What will it take? Ten deaths? Five? Is one not enough?”
After the accident, Kakshapati looked in Sandhya’s room and found a book of lists and other things she had written. She was sad to turn toward the back and see the unwritten pages.
“This lady knew what she wanted to do with her life,” Kakshapati said. “She was a dreamer, but she knew how to make her dreams come true.”
Paige Cornwell: 206-464-2530 or firstname.lastname@example.org