Criminal charges have been filed against the Columbus driver who is accused of striking a local married couple, causing the death of the husband and leaving his wife critically injured.
Michael B. Demaio, 36, of 2023 Chandler Lane, is accused in Bartholomew Superior Court 2 with felony counts of causing death while driving while intoxicated and causing serious injury while driving while intoxicated, and felony counts of leaving the scene of an accident resulting in death while intoxicated, and leaving the scene resulting in injury while intoxicated.
Demaio 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.
As the formal legal proceedings began against Demaio on Tuesday, family and friends of Anshul Sharma, 30, a Cummins engineer, and his wife, Samira Bhardwaj, 28, both of Columbus, continued their efforts to return Sharma’s body to India and to support his wife, who remained hospitalized.
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Bhardwaj continues to be listed in critical condition at Indiana University Health Methodist Hospital in Indianapolis, according to friends of the couple in Columbus.
The Twitter feed of an individual saying he was the brother-in-law of Sharma was filled with messages Tuesday seeking help in getting Sharma’s body back to India, including a plea to The Republic.
The newspaper was unsuccessful in speaking with the individual, but learned from Cummins spokeswoman Katie Zarich that the Columbus-based company has been in constant communication with the Sharma family and providing support in efforts to return his body to India.
Zarich said Cummins has the resources to navigate difficult situations such as this, and will continue working with the family to help them.
The couple, who are both from India, were walking north in the buffered bike lane on Taylor Road at 7:15 p.m. Sunday when Demaio is accused of striking them from behind with a red minivan near Four Seasons Retirement Center, where Taylor Road intersects with Lakeside Drive, said Lt. Matt Harris, Columbus Police Department spokesman.
Demaio is accused of leaving the scene of the accident and driving to his home on Chandler Lane, where police said the minivan was found with substantial damage to its hood and a cracked windshield.
Sharma was pronounced dead at the scene by Bartholomew County Coroner Clayton Nolting, who listed the death as homicide. Nolting said Sharma died from blunt force trauma to his head and upper cervical spine.
Columbus police said an unidentified witness called them to say he remembered seeing the couple walking in the 6-and-a-half foot bike lane on the east side of Taylor Road earlier. And as the witness returned to the area after running an errand, he saw the red minivan with heavy front-end damage and a damaged windshield driving recklessly on Chandler Lane shortly after the couple was found, Harris said.
Police located Demaio’s vehicle in a driveway in the 2000 block of Chandler Lane, just a few minutes east of the accident scene by car, and spoke to Demaio.
Columbus police said in a probable-cause affidavit that Demaio’s eyes were bloodshot, his speech was slurred and his balance was poor when they found him at his home.
The probable-cause affidavit states Demaio admitted being the driver involved in the accident, according to court documents.
Demaio failed three field sobriety tests and police took him to Columbus Regional Hospital for a blood draw to determine what substance might be in his blood, officers said. Demaio tested negative for alcohol intoxication, the probable-cause affidavit states.
It will be several weeks before the blood test results regarding other substances are back, Columbus police said Tuesday.