Indian-origin man killed in US hit-and-run accident: Everything you need to know


Columbus, IN: A 30-year-old Indian-origin engineer lost his life and his wife critically injured when a minivan driver ploughed into them from behind in Columbus. Anshul Sharma died died on the spot, while his 28-year-old wife Samira Bharadwaj was severely injured in the accident on March 26 evening. Police said the couple were hit by an intoxicated minivan driver when they were walking on the buffered bike lane. They were from Columbus city of Indiana. The police, in the meantime, have arrested a 36-year-old man by the name Michael Demaio and pressed criminal charges against him.
As per reports in the Republic newspaper, Demaio was driving a red Chrysler minivan when he hit the Indian couple from behind near Four Seasons Retirement Centre in Columbus. The accused reportedly fled the scene after the incident. Sharma was declared dead at the scene by a Bartholomew Country Coroner Clayton Nolting even as his wife was taken to Indiana University Health Methodist Hospital in Indianapolis where she is being treated and still in a critical condition.
According to a police report, Demaio, who is in now in a county jail, faces several preliminary charges which include failure to stop after an accident resulting in death, failure to stop after an accident resulting in injury, operating while intoxicated resulting in death and operating while intoxicated resulting in injury.
Police, however, couldn’t ascertain the speed of the minivan when it hit the couple. But they said that the speed limit in that stretch of road is 35 miles per hour. They also added that it was daylight when the couple was hit by the driver.
The police also noted that the accused ‘failed several field sobriety exercises’. Demaio’s minivan was also found with extensive damage to its hood along with a cracked windshield. Police seems to have narrowed down on the minivan in a driveway in the 2000 block of Chandler Lane, which is situated east of the accident scene. The accused was present inside the Chandler Lane residence when he was taken into custody.
Meanwhile, Nolting listed Sharma’s death as homicide, adding that he was killed due to blunt force trauma to his head and upper cervical spine. His wife continues to be listed in critical condition at Indiana University Health Methodist Hospital in Indianapolis, the report said. Family and relatives of Sharma have continued their efforts to take his body back to India and to support Bharadwaj. Cummins, a Diesel engine manufacturer, where Sharma worked as an engineer, came out with a statement saying they are in constant touch with the victim’s family and providing all necessary support in efforts to return his body to India.
Meanwhile, as per reports in the Republic, the Indian community in Columbus was shocked to hear about the accident. Indian Association of Columbus’ former president Krishna Rampalli said Sharma used to participate in numerous sporting activities sponsored by the association, one of which was volleyball. Rajib L. Panda, who is Sharma’s acquaintance at Cummins, said the victim’s brother arrived in Columbus from Atlanta, adding that everyone was shaken by the incident.
According to the Republic, Four Seasons executive director Rebecca Stenner said her staff members reported that some person had come into the retirement community office on Sunday to say a couple had been hit and urged to dial 911. The Columbus Police also seem to have gained information about the driver through an unidentified witness which led the officials to nab him.
Thanking the witnesses, the police said had they not called in the authorities could have been left in the dark about clues.