The Tragedy

The Tragedy
It was summer vacation time. Our six year old daughter Yukta was attending a summer camp at Washington Township Recreation Center (WTRC). Like any other day, she was having a great time at the camp.

On Wednesday, July 26, 2006, we were at work when we received a phone call indicating us that the car in which Yukta was a passenger got involved in an accident. It was a call no parent wants to get, and is never prepared to hear. It sent fear into our hearts. Running from the work places, we drove separately from our respective offices to WTRC, it was a dreaded period of time that we spent in fear and prayers.

Dad reached there first and was met by a police officer; he asked "Are you the Dad?", "yes, yes". Dad asked; "Is she breathing ok ?", as he looked at closed eyes of his daughter in the car, the officer answered "no sir, we are sorry". There in front of Dad was Yukta, lying in the car lifeless, surrounded by cops and paramedics filled with despair and wearing solemn faces. Mom arrived at the scene and started screaming as she wept. Dad was crying too, trying to cope with the painful reality of the situation "Oh Yukta, no ...". Our precious daughter and a sister was gone, and there was nothing anyone could do but cry.

Just moments before our arrival at the scene, the forest green Honda Accord, in which Yukta was riding, tried to cross four lanes of traffic to get to the WTRC and was t-boned by a west-bound silver Chevrolet Aveo causing severe head injuries to Yukta and instant death.

Next day, we shared the horrifying news with Yukta's older sister Ishita (10). We watched helplessly the overwhelming pain, confusion and grief taking hold of Ishita as she began comprehending the situation. The family was utterly devastated. It is very hard to accept the fact that we will never have the warmth, laughter, love and wonderfulness of Yukta in our lives. The pain and complexity of our grief is completely indescribable.

On Friday July 28th, we went to the Funeral home for the services. That afternoon over 500 people attended Yukta's visitation. It was an afternoon filled with pain, tears, and love for such a special person, who touched so many people in her short 6 years.

We are thankful for the time we were able to share with Yukta, although it was shorter than we wanted; and the blessings and gifts we still have in our lives, although difficult to appreciate at times.

We also thank people for the love, warmth, help and for their kind words of support during this difficult time. It provided us the strength that we needed to deal with this tragedy.

On August 15, we launched an Online Petition in pursuit of a safer traffic near WTRC. Our drive and determination for mounting an online petition for a safer traffic near WTRC was driven by our belief that Yukta’s death was completely preventable. Through working with Washington Township authorities, we had discovered to our surprise that few years ago Ohio Department of Transportation had rejected several petitions related to the traffic light at that junction. We also discovered that the speed limit on that segment of the street remained unchanged for last 23 years despite the continuously increasing traffic on SR 725 due to the growth of adjoining suburbs. We believed a new petition would help in providing a safer traffic situation near WTRC. The petition had received 1,867 Signatures.

On September 1, we submitted the hardcopies of the petition along with the signatures to ODOT and Washington Township authorities. In response to the online petition, ODOT had performed a traffic study of the intersection and had determined that the best alternative is to restrict people turning left or going straight through the intersection. Hence, on Friday, October 13th, ODOT had installed a product called Qwick Kurb on this intersection to force drivers to make a right turn only out of Garnet Drive and the Recreation Center driveway. Signage was also installed restricting the movement to a right turn only.


Although the emotional pain of losing Yukta is significant and life long, it would be even worse if we heard of another preventable injury or death near the same traffic spot, and if we had chosen to do nothing as a result of Yukta’s death. We apologize if this testimonial is uncomfortable and painful to read, it's even worse to live.

Please keep Yukta, Ishita, Arti and Hemant in all of your prayers; we need them.


Hemant and Arti - Forever Yukta's Dad and Mom