Jury members see evidence in hit-and-run case

Video recorded on body cam, first suspect interview shown

A jury selected to hear the case against a local man accused in the hit-and-run death of a Cummins engineer and severely injuring his wife last year have been shown pictures of the couple being treated by paramedics and a video of the initial interview with the suspect.

Michael DeMaio, 37, 2023 Chandler Lane, is accused in Bartholomew Superior Court 2 with four felonies in the death of Cummins engineer Ansul Sharma, 30, and severely injuring his wife, Samira Bhardwaj, who was 28 at the time of the accident at 7:15 p.m. March 26, 2017.

DeMaio is accused of 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, court records state. He is accused of hitting them with his red minivan as the couple was walking in the bike lane on Taylor Road near Four Seasons Retirement Center and then driving the damaged vehicle away erratically, which was observed by a witness who notified police.

DeMaio was identified by the witness in a police video recorded on body cam, and his first interview with police after receiving a Miranda warning about his rights also was shown to the jury.

The case is being heard by a 14-member jury, which includes eight men and six women, with 12 people seated as jurors and two as alternates.

After sending the jury out of the courtroom for lunch Tuesday, presiding Judge Kathleen “Kitty” Tighe Coriden identified a Republic reporter in the courtroom and chided her while court proceedings were on the record for writing a story previewing the trial which the judge said caused difficulty in seating a jury.

Coriden declined to explain how the newspaper story affected the numbers for the jury pool. However, Coriden’s office manager said that out of 85 names initially set for the jury pool, 64 showed up Monday for jury selection.

Out of the 64, about half of the jurors said they had read the story about the DeMaio case, which published Sunday, Janet Ketron said. When those 32 were asked if any of them had formed an opinion, seven indicated they had, she said.

Of the seven, four were released from jury duty because they said they could not put aside their opinions for trial, she said.

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Julie McClure is assistant managing editor of The Republic. She can be reached at jmcclure@therepublic.com or (812) 379-5631.