Driver involved in fatal collision sentenced to three years in prison


Emma Howard

Due to COVID-19 precautions, the Douglas County district attorney held the sentencing at the Douglas County Fairgrounds in order to accommodate social distancing.

Updated 4:36 p.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 28.

In Lawrence today, the sentencing was held for Tayler James Livingston in regards to the collision that resulted in the death of Baker University Admissions Counselor Deeva Sharma. On February 24, 2020 Sharma died in a head-on collision while driving home on Highway 56. Sharma is survived by her sister Neha Doshi and countless other loved ones who cherish her memory every day. For over a year, they have been seeking justice for Sharma and grieving the loss of the beautiful presence she carried with her.

The collision was caused by 27-year-old Livingston who was rushing to pick his child up from school and crossed the center line to pass a vehicle and struck Sharma’s car head-on. Livingston’s blood test revealed he was intoxicated with a .12 blood alcohol level at the time of the crash. Following the collision, Livingston attempted to flee the scene by means of hitchhiking.

On July 21, 2021, Livingston pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter as part of a request for downward durational departure, in which the defendant provides substantial evidence that the sentence should be reduced. The defense argued for a reduced sentence of 28 months based on the defendant’s assumption of responsibility and religious rehabilitation efforts. The negotiation was denied by the judge. Livingston was subsequently sentenced to 41 months in prison.

Following his release, Livingston will complete a three-year supervision and is to pay $6841.18 in restitution to compensate for loss and damage.

During the sentencing hearing, Sharma’s family members shared statements of pain and grief felt by her loss. Her parents, sister and cousin spoke to her kind heart and shared their hopes of illuminating the world in her honor. Several friends and family also submitted letters to the judge to be considered prior to the sentencing.

Sharma is forever remembered by those in the Baker community and her memory lives on in all the hearts she touched in her short 25 years. Loved ones continue to honor her through volunteer efforts and upholding her passions for equality and education. The legacy she left behind will continue to reflect the grace and kindness she lived throughout her life.