From Newsday, May 12:

Driveway hit-and-run shatters family
Arjun Nalinvilawan couldn’t wait for Mother’s Day.

“I was calling all my friends to find out what to get my mom,” he said. Instead of celebrating with mom on Sunday, the 16-year-old and his family are in mourning.

Late Thursday night, a hit-and-run driver struck and killed Nina Sharma, 49, a mother of three, moments after she stepped outside her East Meadow home for a late-night walk with her husband, Raj, police and relatives said.

“I lost her,” said Raj Sharma. “She was the pillar of my house. She was the foundation of the family. I wish everyone could have a wife like her, a mother like her.”

The couple had returned from an evening meeting in Manhattan, where they signed a lease for a new Midtown location for their wholesale ladies apparel business. They ate a late dinner and then, around 11:40 p.m., decided to take advantage of the milder weather and go for a short walk.

When she stepped outside, Nina Sharma asked her husband to grab garbage cans from the side of the house and she stood at the foot of the driveway waiting for him, police said.

“I came to drag them [the cans],” Raj Sharma, 45. “When I turned she was disappeared . . . We were just going for a walk, and I think I’ll never go for a walk again.”

A tan or gray van traveling south on Stuyvesant Avenue hit Sharma and threw her 65 feet down the street, police said. Nassau Homicide Squad Commander Det. Lt. Michael Fleming said police recovered pieces of a headlight that belong to a Chrysler or Dodge van that was released between 1993 and 1997.

Stuyvesant Avenue residents — who said cars frequently speed down the street — heard a loud thud and then wails from Raj Sharma.

“I still can’t get the sound of out my head, the husband howling in the middle of the street,” said another neighbor, Maria Citarella, 42.

Neighbors tried to perform CPR, but Tarun Anand, 24, a neighbor and close family friend, said Nina Sharma died instantly. Meanwhile, Anand drove around the neighborhood, but had no luck tracking down the van. Sharma was officially pronounced dead at Nassau University Medical Center at 12:17 a.m. Friday, police said.

“We’re still in state of shock,” Anand said. “We feel at any second we’ll wake up and she’ll be here again.”

A plastic mask and resuscitation bag lay in the street Friday morning as grief-stricken friends and family gathered on Stuyesant Avenue outside the Sharma’s two-story house to remember a woman they said put family above everything else.

Suchin Sharma, 28, the oldest of Sharma’s three sons, arrived from Florida shortly after 10 a.m. He emerged from a car with his wife, Sarika, sobbing, and embraced his father on the front stoop.

“We just got married two months ago and she was by far the happiest person,” Suchin Sharma said of his mother.

“She never thought of herself — ever,” said Nalinvilawan. “She wanted to put everybody before her.”

Family and friends walked from the house to the site where Sharma landed and sprinkled pink flower petals on a patch of sidewalk grass. They bowed their heads as Harbans Kaur, a neighbor, led a prayer in Punjabi, sprinkling water over the area.

“It’s a final resting prayer,” said Suchin Sharma. “It’s something you say to bring peace to a soul.”

Sharma was born in Bangkok, Thailand, and met her husband in the Punjab region of India. They married 20 years ago and came to the United States about 10 years later. They lived in Flushing until last year, when they moved to East Meadow, Anand said.

“They thought it would be safer,” Anand said. “I guess it wasn’t.”

Now the Sharma family is making plans for a funeral instead of a Mother’s Day celebration.

“She is our mother,” said Suchin Sharma. “We wished her Happy Mother’s Day everyday.”

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