KANSAS CITY – Terrell E. Watkins, 34, former Kansas City Police officer, has been charged today in connection with the October 2018 crash that killed one teenager.
Watkins faces first-degree involuntary manslaughter, two counts of second-degree assault, and one misdemeanor count of careless and imprudent driving.
The crash occurred on October 21, 2018, a few minutes after 4 p.m., outside the Truman Sports Complex, before the Kansas City Chiefs Sunday night NFL game.
According to court documents, a blue KCPD Ford E350 Van, driven by Watkins, was traveling north on I-435 and rear ended a red Mitsubishi Lancer that was stopped in traffic.
The driver of the Lancer, 17-year-old Chandan Rajanna, was pronounced dead at the scene and two of the passengers were transported to an area hospital with life-threatening injuries.
Watkins was transported to a hospital with non-life threatening injuries.
One of the witnesses at the scene stated he saw the van traveling about 50-60 miles per hour and the driver lock up his brakes, but wasn’t able to avoid the crash, causing a chain reaction involving two additional vehicles.
At the time of the crash, Watkins was employed as a KCPD officer assigned to the Police Athletic League Unit but was off-duty and was scheduled to work the Sunday night game as security for the Chiefs game.
An Accident Investigations Officer obtained data from the Airbag Control Module of the van and it revealed that the van was traveling 65 miles per hour during impact with the Lancer.
Detectives obtained search warrants for Watkins’ cell phone and found his phone was actively in use in the moments just before his reporting the crash.
Phone records show he received a phone call at 3:52 p.m. that ended at 4:02 p.m.
Two text messages were also found on the phone, one text was received at 4:02 and a message was sent from his phone at 4:03.
Within one minute of the sent text message, Watkins notified the KCPD police dispatcher by radio of the crash at 4:04.
“The charges filed today against a former Kansas City Missouri Police Department officer represent a painstakingly thorough investigation into the tragic crash last October that took the life of a 17-year-old young man and injured his family members,” said Sergeant Jacob Becchina, spokesman for the Kansas City Police Department. “The former officer was off duty at the time of the crash. He resigned from the Department on June 20, 2019, after approximately seven years of service. Since the time of the crash, he had been on an administrative assignment until his resignation.”