MINEOLA, NY – The driver in a hit-and-run accident that killed rapper Nicki Minaj’s father last year was sentenced to a year in prison on Wednesday, as per a promise the judge made when the man pleaded guilty in May.
Charles Polevich, who pleaded guilty to leaving the scene and tampering with evidence in the crash on Long Island in New York that killed Robert Maraj, was also ordered to pay a $5,000 fine and had his driver’s license suspended for six months.
Polevich’s lawyer, Marc Gann, suggested his client may have had a medical condition at the time of the crash and was not fully aware of what had happened when he crashed. fled.
Polevich, 72, told the court he was “heartbroken since he realized the scale of the tragedy” and there was “no excuse” for his behavior.
Maraj’s widow, Carol Maraj, said in court that Polevich left her husband “like a dog on the street” and that sparing him a longer prison sentence was a “slap in the face for the family”, Newsday reported.
Polevich punched Maraj, 64, as Maraj was walking along Roslyn Road in Mineola in February 2021. Polevich briefly stopped to ask Maraj if he was okay, but did not call for help, prosecutors said.
Instead, Polevich drove home, parked the car – a white 1992 Volvo station wagon – in his garage and covered it with a tarp, prosecutors said. Maraj was taken to hospital and pronounced dead the following day.
Prosecutors have asked for a sentence of one to three years behind bars, but Nassau County Judge Howard Sturim said in May, when Polevich pleaded guilty, that he would get “no more than a year in prison”.
Brendan Brosh, spokesman for the Nassau County District Attorney’s Office, said “given the seriousness of the defendant’s conduct,” prosecutors felt a harsher sentence was warranted.
“We continue to express our condolences to Robert Maraj’s family,” Brosh said.
Gann asked for a 90-day jail term, arguing that other factors beyond Polevich’s control were partly responsible for the crash, including road construction, streetlights that didn’t work and Maraj’s physical condition. .
Maraj’s widow, Carol Maraj, is suing Polevich for the accident.
Polevich, who split his time between Long Island and Guam, where he runs a drilling and water purification business, turned himself in to police days after the crash.
Detectives said they used bits of surveillance video to track the Volvo involved in the accident to Polevich’s home in Mineola.
Nicki Minaj, the Grammy-nominated, platinum-selling “Anaconda,” “Super Bass,” and other hit rapper, was born Onika Tanya Maraj in Trinidad and raised in Queens.
In a post on her website, Minaj, 39, called her father’s death “the most devastating loss of my life.”