The search continues for the driver in the July 30 hit-and-run collision which resulted in the death of five-year-old Kushan Bhandari, just days before he was to begin kindergarten at Big Bear Elementary School. The San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department held a press conference at the Performing Arts Center this afternoon, during which time media was able to view the rough videotape footage, since enhanced by the FBI, which shows the vehicle heading westbound on Big Bear Boulevard toward Bartlett Road (just west of Pine Knot), where the SUV hit Kushan, as well as his mother Sujana and 11-year-old brother Kushal in the 8pm hour on July 30. According to Big Bear Sheriff’s Station Sergeant Steve Kruger, “We have interviewed hundreds of people, and nothing came from that.” It was also noted that there was not much evidence from the scene so, at this time, the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department is hoping for contact from two women who had been dining at the Evergreen Restaurant and witnessed the accident, though have been unfindable since asking the restaurant’s manager to call 911.
Kushan’s parents, Keshar and Sujana, along with family friend Suman Rana, spoke at the press conference, in a plea to those with any information to please come forward. Father Kushal, known to many in the Valley as the owner of the Himalayan Restaurant, told those in attendance, “It is a very grave time for us. It is a very sad time. If anyone knows anything about the accident or car, please call.” Mother Sujana who, like son Kushal, remains in physical therapy since being hospitalized for their injuries, fought back tears to say, “This is a very hard time for us. I feel so, so bad. I lost my heart. If we find this guy, I can feel a little bit better, a little bit.” Of their oldest son, Keshar said, “He is OK now, he went to school—but he says it’s very scary. He doesn’t want to cross the road.”
It was in crossing the Boulevard, after playing at the lake, that the family was hit by the vehicle, which has yet to be identified. Sheriff’s investigators are looking for an SUV, possibly green or brown but dark in color, model year mid-90s to mid-2000s, and likely a Chevy Tahoe, Jimmy or Dodge Durango, with barn-type doors on the back (rather than a hatchback). Sergeant Donald Mahoney of the Sheriff’s Major Accident Investigation Team also noted that there should be some front-end damage to the vehicle, perhaps some broken plastic or a damaged grille. If you’ve a neighbor who has perhaps changed their behavior, whether by parking their SUV in a garage or switching vehicles, this could be a clue helpful to investigators, who are reachable at 909/866-0100, or via the WeTip anonymous hotline at 1-800-78-CRIME, which is also offering a $1000 reward for the arrest and conviction of the driver, who would likely be charged with felony hit-and-run. Big Bear Sheriff’s Station Captain Greg Garland, who keeps a photo of Kushan Bhandari on his desk, tells KBHR, “Some cases take longer than others, but whatever it takes—those cases remain open until we solve them.”
Related stories are available in postings of August 20, August 10, August 6, August 4, August 3 and July 31; you can also type “Kushan Bhandari” into search bar at website’s top right.
- Five-Year-Old Kushan Bhandari Would Have Started Kindergarten Tomorrow; Family Asks for Assistance in Locating Driver in Hit-and-Run Collision
- Investigation Continues for Driver of SUV in July 30 Hit-and-Run; Bhandari Family Fund Established at First Mountain Bank
- Investigation Continues for Driver Who Hit Bhandari Family Three Weeks Ago; Sheriff’s Station Sends Surveillance Videos to FBI