Driver faces involuntary manslaughter charge in head-on crash that killed 25-year-old Baker University employee

photo by: Kansas Highway Patrol crash report

This diagram depicts a crash that occurred on Feb. 24, 2020 in southeastern Douglas County. Sharma Deeva, 25, was killed in the crash.

A Paola man is facing an involuntary manslaughter charge after a head-on crash killed a Leawood woman in February.

According to a crash report from the Kansas Highway Patrol, Tayler James Livingston, 26, was westbound on U.S. Highway 56 approximately 1 mile east of Kansas Highway 33 in a GMC Sierra around 4:40 p.m. on Feb. 24. The area is about 6 miles east of Baldwin City.

Livingston reportedly crossed the center line to pass the vehicle in front of him on the two-lane road. His truck’s front bumper struck the bumper of an eastbound Toyota Prius, according to the crash report.

The driver of the Prius, 25-year-old Deeva Sharma, of Leawood, was killed in the crash, according to the report.

US-56 & County Line Rd, Palmyra, KS 66092

Livingston and Sharma were both wearing seat belts, according to the crash report, and both vehicles’ airbags deployed.

Livingston was not injured, according to the report. The vehicle that Livingston was reportedly attempting to pass was hit with debris, causing “substantial damage,” but its driver was not injured and the vehicle could be driven away from the scene, the report indicates.

According to the crash report, Douglas County Sheriff’s Office Deputy David Pierce told the lead investigating officer, Master Trooper Rodney King of KHP, that he had evidence of a possible DUI. As of the date of the amended crash report, lab results were pending. King also wrote in the report that he believed general inattention was a contributing factor in the crash.

Sharma’s obituary from a Lenexa funeral home says that she was an admissions counselor at Baker University who intended to pursue higher education doctoral programs with an emphasis on diversity and inclusion. She loved helping people and bringing her family together, according to the obituary. She would have turned 26 the day after the crash.

“Deeply affected by those often marginalized, she was a fierce feminist and advocate for more diverse representation in media, literature, art, and politics,” according to the obituary. “She also sought to increase and impact mental health awareness.”

Livingston was booked into Douglas County Jail Monday on a probable cause warrant and was released on a $20,000 own-recognizance bond. His first appearance in Douglas County District Court is scheduled for Sept. 8, according to Dorothy Kliem, trial assistant for the Douglas County district attorney’s office.

At that hearing, Livingston will be formally charged with involuntary manslaughter, a level-4 felony, in connection with the crash. The statute under which he is charged indicates that he was in violation of Kansas DUI laws. Kliem was unable to provide further information about the circumstances of the crash.

Attorney John A. Boyd has entered an appearance in Livingston’s case, according to online court records. Boyd was out of the office and could not be reached for comment Thursday.

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