The Himalayan Restaurant in the Village became a memorial site over the weekend, as the community has left flowers and notes in support of the Bhandari family, who lost their five-year-old son following a hit-and-run collision on Thursday evening. The incident took place in the 8pm hour on July 30, when 32-year-old Sujana Bhandari and her two sons, 11-year-old Kushal and 5-year-old Kushan, were crossing Lakeview Drive after playing at the lake. Sujana and oldest son Kushal had been airlifted to Loma Linda; he was since released on Friday and has been with family friends off the mountain. Sujana, the mother, was discharged last night and, per family friend Suman Rana, is in stable condition and now with Kushal.
The Bhandari family, owners of the Himalayan Restaurant and adjacent store on Pine Knot Avenue, came to the United States from Nepal. Father Keshar arrived first, five years ago, and his wife and sons joined him in Big Bear Lake three years ago, soon after arriving in America. Family friend Rana says that five-year-old Kushan was a typical American boy and, in fact, was to start kindergarten at Big Bear Elementary School tomorrow. “Kushan was a smart kid,” Rana tells KBHR. “He loved to talk and joke around. He also loved to play at the lake and watch cartoons. He wasn’t different from any other American kid.” As for his family, Rana adds, “It’s tough, so we’re all just trying to console them and help them be positive, but it takes time.” Plans are underway to hold a vigil in Kushan’s honor, though a date has not yet been set.
In the meantime, the family asks the Big Bear community for help in locating the driver in the hit-and-run collision. Investigators from the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department, also, as of today are still seeking information on the driver of the older model SUV, possibly a GMC or Chevy Tahoe, model year 1999 or 2000, dark in color with tinted windows. Those with any information are encouraged to call Sheriff’s Dispatch at 387-8313; those who wish to remain anonymous may call the WeTip hotline at 1-800-78-CRIME. For additional background on this story, please see our postings from July 31.
- Hundreds of Interviews Later, Search Continues for Driver in July Hit-and-Run; Family of Five-Year-Old Kushan Bhandari Makes Public Plea for Information
- Services for Kushan Bhandari to Take Place on Friday; Reward Offered for Arrest and Conviction of Driver in July 30 Hit-and-Run
- Investigation Continues for Driver of SUV in July 30 Hit-and-Run; Bhandari Family Fund Established at First Mountain Bank