COLUMBUS, Ind. — EDITOR'S NOTE: The video above is a report from Aug. 30 about the witness who helped catch the suspect.
Details from a probable cause affidavit show a man who hit a 16-year-old girl as she was boarding a school bus Monday then drove away, told police he had seen flashing lights and knew he hit something.
Lily Streeval, a junior at Columbus East High School, was crossing South Gladstone Street just before 7 a.m. when the crash happened. According to the probable cause affidavit, 25-year-old Shiam Sunder Shankara Subramanian was driving his Honda Civic southbound when he hit Streeval and continued to drive away from the scene.
When police arrived, Streeval's personal belongings had been thrown on both sides of the road and behind the school bus. Streeval was taken to a hospital for her injuries, where she later died.
A witness followed Shankara Subramanian after he left the area. The witness found him — stopped in traffic behind another school bus — and confronted him. When the witness told Shankara Subramanian he had hit a child, he tried to again drive away, but got stuck in an embankment in a yard.
Police said Shankara Subramanian's car had severe damage, including a shattered windshield and a dented hood. When they questioned him, he "admitted to police that he hit something and had seen flashing lights ahead while driving," the probable cause affidavit says.
After surveying the scene of the crash, officers determined Streeval's bus, which was going northbound, stopped and extended the stop arm so she could board. Before she got to the other side of the street, Shankara Subramanian ignored the stop arm, hit Streeval, and continue to drive southbound.
Shankara Subramanian has been charged with leaving the scene of an accident resulting in death — a level 4 felony — and passing a school bus when arm signal is extended causing death — a level 5 felony. He is being held in the Bartholomew County Jail on a $500,000 bond. A judge also ordered him to surrender his passport.
Stop arm violations are on the rise and police officers are taking notice, ramping up patrols in an effort to catch violators and discourage drivers from passing busses when the red stop sign is flashing.
Last year there were 1,555 violations, an increase from the more than 2,600 recorded in 2019. However, it's important to note the decrease in violations is likely due in part to the several months in 2020 when kids weren't riding the school bus and were instead learning from home due to the pandemic.
This year more than 200 law enforcement agencies across the state have increased bus safety patrols, which has led to more violations being recorded. So far in 2021, there have been nearly 1,600 stop arm violations, according to the Indiana Criminal Justice Institute. This tops last year's number and there are still a few more months left in the year.