NYC fugitive driver who killed Nicki Minaj’s father sentenced
The driver in the hit-and-run crash that killed Nicki Minaj’s father on Long Island was sentenced to a year behind bars on Wednesday – devastating his grieving widow, who called the punishment a “slap in the face”.
Nassau County Judge Howard Sturim handed down the county jail sentence to Charles Polevich, a 72-year-old businessman who admitted punching Robert Maraj and leaving him on the side of a road in Mineola in February 2021.
“One year? That’s a slap in the face for the family,” the hip hop star’s mother, Carol Maraj, told the judge.[He] just left him in the street like a dog.
Polevich – who pleaded guilty to leaving the scene of an accident causing death and tampering with evidence – was also fined $5,000 and had his driver’s license suspended for six months.
The judge chastised Polevich for his “cold and ruthless reaction” after hitting Maraj, a 64-year-old electrician, and said “the crime here resulted from the defendant leaving the premises”.
But the light sentence came because Polevich had no criminal history and was not under the influence of drugs or alcohol, Sturim said. He added that “his criminality…was not the cause of death”.
Prosecutors had recommended a sentence of one to three years. Polevich will likely end up serving a reduced sentence of eight months, his lawyer Marc Gann said.
“Your Honor, he is not a good citizen in my eyes,” Carol Maraj said. “He looked at it and left it [on the roadside]. Is he a good citizen?
Outside the courtroom, Maraj told reporters his wife was wrapped up and ready to fly to California to see “her new grandson” – then one-year-old Nicki Minaj – the day of his assassination.
“She was very, very sad,” Maraj said of her daughter.
Wearing glasses and a grim expression, Polevich also spoke in court, offering his “deepest apologies” to the victim’s family.
“I feel deep sadness and remorse for the loss of Robert Maraj’s life.
“I feel compassion for his wife, Mrs. Maraj and [his] family. I had no malicious intent,” he said. “I completely accept responsibility for my actions.”
After last year’s crash, Polevich got out of his vehicle and asked Maraj if he was okay before getting back in his 1992 Volvo and driving off without calling 911, according to the criminal complaint.
He drove home and parked the car in his garage and covered it with a tarp.
Polevich’s lawyer said after the hearing that the autopsy report showed Maraj had alcohol in his system when he died.
“I don’t mean to disparage anyone, but there were substances in the autopsy report that Mr. Maraj appears to have been under the influence of at the time of the accident,” Gann told the Post, adding, “I’m not saying not that minimizes Mr. Polevitch’s criminal conduct or criminal responsibility.