NewsLocal NewsCrime

Actions

'He's a runner' Grieving mom believes man charged in daughter's bus stop death will flee if bonded

Posted at 12:33 AM, Sep 06, 2021
and last updated 2021-09-06 00:41:45-04

"This isn’t about you.”

Teri Burbrink says those words, often spoken by her 16-year-old daughter, Lily, have been echoing in her head.

Lily Streeval was killed by a hit-and-run driver while crossing the street to board her school bus on Monday.

READ | Student killed by hit-and-run driver identified

On Friday, Burbrink learned the man accused of hitting and killing her daughter just four days earlier is now eligible to get out on bond.

Now she’s worried that if he’s let out of jail, her daughter may never get justice.

“I don’t think he’ll ever go to trial… this will never go to trial. He’ll run, that’s what he does,” Burbrink said.

Lily

Lily Streeval rode the same bus, with the same bus driver, from the same spot in front of her grandmother’s home every school day since she started kindergarten.

She would leave each morning and walk to her grandmother’s home next door to have a cup of coffee before walking out to the side of S. Gladstone Avenue, where she would cross the street and get on the bus for school.

“From kindergarten until her last day alive, Lily always rode that bus,” Burbrink said.

On Monday, Lily’s day started the same as every school day morning, except while crossing the road to get onto the school bus… she was struck and killed.

"I wouldn't let her ride her moped because I was afraid she'd get hurt," Burbrink said. "Then she got killed getting on a school bus."

The official report from the crash scene reconstruction team hasn’t been released, but according to Lily’s mother, her daughter was thrown from the corner where the bus stopped all the way down the road.

A distance the photo below doesn’t quite do justice.

A giant heart with an “L” in the center, written in bright orange, now marks the spot where Lily landed. The color chosen because it was Lily’s favorite.

Burbrink now finds herself returning to that spot, finding an odd sense of comfort in knowing that it was where her daughter likely took her last breath.

“To me, it’s like part of her is still there… with her blood still being there… it’s oddly comforting that a part of her is still there.”

Due to the extent of her injuries, Burbrink says Lily’s major organs were unable to be donated… something she says they had discussed, and she knows Lily would have wanted.

She was, however, still able to be a donor.

“She was not just hit and killed, she was violently hurt… she was hurt so bad she couldn’t be the organ donor she wanted to be,” Burbrink said. “She was only able to donate some bone, some veins and her eyes.”

Burbrink says her own pain is made even worse by the fact that the driver that’s accused of hitting her daughter, left the scene of the accident.

If it wasn’t for Brian Rea, she isn’t sure that man would have ever been caught.

“I’m thankful that there are still people who do the right thing. When other people do the wrong thing, I’m grateful that somebody is willing to do the right thing,” Burbrink said of Rea.

Rea was on his way to work and was stopped behind Lily’s school bus when he says he heard the crash and saw a backpack fly through the air. When he looked to see who had stopped, he saw a white vehicle flying by.

“I instantly knew. I knew what had happened. The sound, I will never forget,” Rea said. “I turned around to look in my rearview mirror and there were no brake lights… and I just turned around and said, ‘he’s not getting away with this.’”

According to probable cause documents, Rea followed Shiam Sunder Shankara Subramanian’s vehicle until he was stopped in traffic behind another school bus in the area of S 250 E and E 275 S.

“Why he stopped for that bus, I don’t know,” Rea said.

While the vehicles were stopped, Rea said he got out of his vehicle and tried to confront the driver.

“I was telling him, ‘you hit that kid... you hit that kid… you killed that kid,’” Rea said. “And he just kept saying, ‘it was an object, it was an object.’”

Subramanian then tried to turn around in a nearby yard to leave the scene and became stuck on an embankment. That’s where he was when police arrived on the scene.

According to court documents, the 25-year-old’s white Honda Civic had “a shattered windshield, a dented hood and multiple other markings and damage indicating it had been involved in a recent crash.”

When police asked Subramanian what caused the damage to his vehicle, he admitted that he had “hit something and had seen flashing lights ahead” on Gladstone Avenue while he was on his way to work.

Subramanian was arrested and is facing two felony charges for leaving the scene of an accident resulting in death and passing a school bus when the stop arm is extended causing death.

The Bartholomew County Prosecutor filed documents on Thursday requesting a “greater than standard bond” for Subramanian.

The prosecutor says Subramanian is a citizen of India and is in the U.S. on a work visa. He is also not believed to have any family that resides in the country.

“The state believes that given the nature of the offenses and the Defendant’s ability to leave the United States, the Defendant poses a very high risk of flight,” the prosecutor’s office said in their request.

That request was granted, and Subramanian’s bond was set at $500,000. He will need to post 10% of that bond, or $50,000, to be released.

When asked why more could not be done to keep Subramanian behind bars, the Bartholomew County Prosecutor's Office provided the following statement to WRTV.

"Under the constitutions of the United States and the State of Indiana, all criminal defendants (with certain exceptions for murder and treason) are entitled to post bail, which is set by the Court and not by the Prosecutor’s Office. In the case of Shiam Sunder Shankara Subramanian, the Bartholomew County Prosecutor’s Office requested a bond in excess of the standard bond schedule, which was set by the Bartholomew County Courts. That request was granted, as well as our request that the defendant’s passport be surrendered as a condition of posting bail. Our authority over the potential release of the defendant pending trial ended there."

The court has also ordered him to surrender his passport as a stipulation of his bond.

Subramanian’s attorney declined our request for a comment.

But even with those precautions in place, the fact that the man accused of hitting her daughter and then driving away is able to get out on bond doesn’t sit well with Burbrink or Rea.

“I just want him to stand trial,” Burbrink said.

“We want justice to be served and if this guy gets out, he’s going to ghost. If he ran from the scene, do they think he’s not going to run again,” Rea said.

“He’s a runner… that’s what he does,” Burbrink said.

Pain to Purpose

Burbrink says she has already begun the process of reaching out to her representatives about making changes to toughen the laws in similar situations, but she has yet to hear back.

It’s something she knows Lily would want her to do.

"Lily would want us to talk about this," Burbrink said. "She would want people to know how badly she was hurt. And she would want something to change so this doesn't happen to somebody else's kid."

She says she also hopes to get in contact with other families who have lost children to hit-and-run drivers and accidents at school bus stops. She believes that their voices united would make a bigger impact and push for change.

“This is not an isolated event. Two girls on the same day… in Indiana… died from hit and runs. They both died Monday,” Burbrink said.

The second hit-and-run she’s referring to was Friday in Indianapolis. Police say 12-year-old Saleina Marcelus was walking to her bus stop on Mitthoeffer Road just before 7 a.m. when she was struck by a hit-and-run driver.

READ | Girl struck by hit-and-run driver while walking to bus stop dies

Saleina died from those injuries on Monday, the same day Lily was struck and killed by a hit-and-run driver at her bus stop.

Police are still searching for the driver who struck Saleina.

"He can leave today. Right now, in our legal system. He could leave today," Birbirnk said of the driver accused of striking her daughter. "I want everyone to know what's happened, what is happening."