Indian-American killed in hit-and-run in Indiana

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Samira Bhardwaj and Anshul Sharma

Washington — An Indian American man was killed and his wife was critically injured in a hit-and-run accident in Indiana.

Anshul Sharma, 30, died on the spot while his wife Samira Bharadwaj, 28, was injured critically in the accident on Sunday evening. Both pedestrians were from Columbus city of Indiana, said the police.

A 36-year-old man, Michael Demaio, was arrested by the police. He was driving a red Chrysler minivan and hit the couple from behind near Four Seasons Retirement Centre in Columbus, reported the Republic newspaper on Tuesday.

The accused later fled the scene.

Samira Bhardwaj and Anshul Sharma

Sharma was pronounced dead at the scene by a Bartholomew County Coroner while Bharadwaj was later transported to a hospital in Indianapolis.

Demaio “failed several field sobriety exercises”, the police said. The minivan was found with substantial damage to its hood and a cracked windshield.

The accused, who is in now in a county jail, faces a number of preliminary charges, including 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, said the report.

Meanwhile, family and friends of Sharma continued their efforts to take his body back to India and to support his wife, who was in a critical condition.

There were several messages on Twitter on Tuesday seeking help for the family.

A spokeswoman of Cummins, a diesel engine manufacturer in Columbus, where Sharma worked as an engineer, said the company was in constant communication with the Sharma family and providing support in efforts to return his body to India.

Criminal charges have been filed against Demaio, who had been held at the Bartholomew County Jail without bond on a 48-hour hold since the incident happened at 7:15 p.m. Sunday, jail officials said. Demaio’s bond was set at $75,000 and he posted a 10 percent bond and was released from jail on Tuesday night, Republic newspaper reported.

As the formal legal proceedings began against Demaio on Tuesday, family and friends of Sharma and his wife, continued their efforts to return Sharma’s body to India and to support his wife, who remained hospitalized, Republic said.

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