Trial continues in hit-and-run case

The state rested its case Wednesday afternoon in the trial of Shiam Sunder Shankara Subramanian.

An engineer and native of India in Columbus on a work visa, Subramanian is accused of two felonies in regard to the Aug. 30, 2021 death of a Columbus East High School student.

Investigators allege 16-year-old Lily J. Streeval was struck by Subramanian’s 2019 Honda Civic as she was attempting to board her Bartholomew Consolidated School Corp. bus in the early morning hours of that day, court documents state.

The defendant is accused of leaving the scene of an accident resulting in death or catastrophic injury, a Level 4 felony, and passing a school bus while the arm signal is extended causing death, a Level 5 felony, according to court documents.

After opening arguments in Bartholomew Circuit Court, the state called a total of nine witnesses. They included accident reconstructionists, investigators and civilians who were at the scene.

Prosecutors said on Tuesday they did have access to extensive video from body and car cameras maintained by local law enforcement. However, the jury was told additional video from other sources such as nearby security systems also might be used.

The defense maintained in its opening arguments that very limited visibility resulted in Subramanian believing he had hit a deer or an object, instead of a person.

Defense attorney James Voyles said he planned to call accident reconstructionist Roger Barrett, whom he described as an expert witness from Northwestern University.

Voyles told the jury Tuesday that Barrett would be able to confirm that the left wheels of the school bus were slightly over the double-yellow line on South Gladstone Avenue, which placed the bus partially in the lane Subramanian’s car was in.

Barrett is also supposed to testify regarding Voyles’ claim that the front stop arm signal had not yet been fully extended when the teen was hit. The defense also contends the rear stop arm was just beginning to come out when the teenager was struck.

When asked how many witnesses he planned to call to the stand, Voyles responded he was not sure at that time. If few are called, jury deliberations could get underway immediately after the defense rests its case.

During questioning of jury members Monday, Voyles emphasized the defendant does not have to speak in his own behalf during the trial. He also said the defense lawyers are not under any obligation to present evidence or testimony to prove innocence. The burden of proof during a criminal trial rests entirely with the prosecutors, Voyles said.