Michael DeMaio, 37, of Columbus, Indiana has been found guilty in the hit-and-run death of Indian American engineer Ansul Sharma, 30, and severely injuring his wife, Samira Bhardwaj, on March 26, 2017, according to a The Republic report.
DeMaio was found guilty on two counts of leaving the scene of an accident; causing a death when operating a motor vehicle with a controlled substance in his system and causing serious bodily injury when operating a motor vehicle with a controlled substance in his system.
Penalties for DeMaio can range from a minimum of six months in prison and a $10,000 fine to 16 years in prison and a $10,000 fine.
Bhardwaj had initially been listed as a witness in the case, but could not travel due to her health.
Her brother Ketan told The Republic that his sister has been recuperating in India since last June and her most recent surgery occurred in December.
“It’s been a year, and the family is still processing this. Nothing can bring Ansul back. As for Anshul’s family, his mom and dad are still trying to grasp the reality of this. They are still facing issues. The family is devastated,” Ketan said adding that he would most likely attend the sentencing in May to submit a statement.
The married couple was walking in the bike lane on Taylor Road near Four Seasons Retirement Center in Bartholomew County, Indiana when DeMaio hit them with his red minivan and drove off carelessly, according to a The Republic report.
The incident was observed by a witness who then notified police.
In his statement to police, DeMaio had said that he left his home and was headed to work on the night shift at NTN Driveshaft.
DeMaio added that he was feeling tired and realized midway he had forgotten his NTN ID so he had to go back home, according to the affidavit
DeMaio then said that he was driving north on Taylor Road approaching Lakeside when “he closed his eyes and his vehicle must have drifted off the roadway and woke up when his vehicle collided with an object.”
According to toxicology reports that were released in July 2017, DeMaio had methamphetamine in his system at the time of the accident and failed a number of sobriety tests even though he tested negative for alcohol intoxication.
According to a The Republic report, Bhardwaj was found on the ground with a faint breath while Sharma was later confirmed dead when first-responders arrived at the scene of the accident.
Bartholomew County Coroner Clayton Nolting, ruled Sharma’s death as a homicide, noting that he died of blunt force trauma to his head and upper cervical spine.
DeMaio’s sentencing has been set for May 3 at 1:30 p.m. in Bartholomew County Superior Court 2, he will remain at Bartholomew County Jail until then.