Indian engineer killed, wife critical in hit-and-run accident

Indian engineer killed, wife critical in hit-and-run accident
A 30-year-old Indian engineer was killed and his wife critically injured when an intoxicated minivan driver rammed them from behind in a hit-and-run accident in the US city of Columbus.

Anshul Sharma died on the spot while his wife Samira Bharadwaj, 28, was critically injured when the driver hit the couple, both walking in the buffered bike lane, from behind in Columbus on Sunday.

Michael Demaio, 36, has been arrested by the police and criminal charges have been filed against him. The driver faces four felony charges after being accused of striking the married couple killing the husband and critically injuring the wife and then driving away from the scene.

Demaio is being held without bond in the Bartholomew County Jail, jail officials said.

Demaio is accused of felony counts of operating a vehicle while intoxicated resulting in death, operating a vehicle while intoxicated resulting in injury, and failing to stop after an accident resulting in death and failing to stop after an accident resulting in injury, police said. The police department listed Bhardwaj's last name with a slightly different spelling.

The couple, originally from India, were struck by a red minivan from behind as they walked near the entrance to Four Seasons Retirement Center, 1901 Taylor Road, near Lakeside Drive, Harris said.

Police don't know how fast the minivan was traveling when it hit the couple, but the speed limit in that stretch of road is 35 miles per hour, Harris said. It still was daylight when Demaio is accused of hitting the couple and weather was not a factor, he said.

Bartholomew County Coroner Clayton Nolting said Sharma was pronounced dead at the scene. Nolting has listed the death as a homicide, saying Sharma died from blunt force trauma to his head and upper cervical spine.

Bhardwaj was listed in critical condition Monday at Indiana University Health Methodist Hospital, Indianapolis. Members of the Indian Association of Columbus reacted with shock after the couple's names were released.Krishna Rampalli, who has served as president of the association, said Sharma participated in many sports activities sponsored by the association, including volleyball.

An acquaintance at Cummins, Rajib L. Panda, said Bhardwaj's brother arrived in Columbus on Monday from Atlanta.

"Everyone is very shaken," Panda said. Columbus police are awaiting blood test results on Demaio, but said he tested negative for alcohol intoxication, Harris said.
Describing Demaio's appearance and behaviour as being slow to respond, with slurred speech during his arrest, Harris said police utilized a staff drug-recognition specialist to run Demaio through a number of field-sobriety tests.

The officer advised there was probable cause to arrest Demaio for being under the influence, although blood test results will determine what substance it might be,
Harris said. A


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