Driver who killed father of Nicki Minaj sentenced to year in jail

Robert Maraj was killed in hit-and-run incident in New York

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The driver in a hit-and-run crash that killed the father of rapper Nicki Minaj last year was sentenced on Wednesday to a year in jail, in keeping with 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 New York’s Long Island that killed Robert Maraj, was also ordered to pay a $5,000 fine and had his driver’s licence suspended for six months.

Polevich’s lawyer, Marc Gann, suggested his client might have had a medical problem at the time of the crash and that he was not fully aware of what had happened when he fled.

His client said in court that he had “been heartsick since realising the extent of the tragedy” and that there was “no excuse” for his behaviour.

Maraj’s widow, Carol Maraj, said in court that Polevich had left her husband “like a dog on the street” and that sparing him a longer jail sentence was a “slap in the face for the family”, Newsday reported.

Polevich struck Maraj while he was walking along Roslyn Road in Mineola in February 2021.

The driver stopped briefly to ask Maraj if he was OK, but didn’t call for help, prosecutors said.

Charles Polevich, who pleaded guilty to leaving the scene and tampering with evidence, was also ordered on Wednesday to pay a $5,000 fine and had his driver’s licence suspended for six months. Newsday / AP

Instead, Polevich went home, parked the white, 1992 Volvo estate car in his garage and covered it with a tarpaulin, prosecutors said.

Maraj was taken to a hospital and pronounced dead the next day.

Prosecutors sought 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 one year in jail”.

Brendan Brosh, a spokesman for the Nassau County District Attorney’s office, said that “given the severity of the defendant’s conduct”, prosecutors felt a longer sentence was warranted.

“We continue to express our condolences to the family of Robert Maraj,” Mr Brosh said.

Mr Gann asked for a 90-day jail sentence, saying other factors outside of Polevich’s control were partially to blame for the crash, including road works, street lights that were not working and Maraj’s physical condition.

Carol Maraj is suing Polevich over the crash.

Nicki Minaj, the platinum-selling, Grammy-nominated rapper of Anaconda, Super Bass and other hits, was born Onika Tanya Maraj in Trinidad and was raised in Queens.

In a post on her website, Minaj called her father’s death “the most devastating loss of my life”.

Updated: August 03, 2022, 8:56 PM
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