The driver who killed rapper Nicki Minaj’s father in a hit-and-run on Long Island has pleaded guilty to felony charges of leaving the scene of a fatality and tampering with physical evidence for hiding the vehicle on Friday and was told by the judge that he would get no more than a year in jail.
During his plea hearing in Nassau County state court, Charles Polevich, 71, confessed to leaving Robert Maraj, 64 on the side of the road to die after he struck him in February 2021 while he was walking along a snowy road in Mineola.
According to the criminal complaint, Polevich got out of his car, looked over Maraj and asked him if he was okay, before he walked back into his 1992 Volvo Station Wagon and drove off without calling the police. He drove home and parked the car in his garage and covered it with tarp. Using video footage from the neighboring cameras, police were able to trace the vehicle back to Polevich’s address.
Maraj was taken to the hospital where he died the next day.
Judge Howard Sturim said Polevich would receive “no more than one year in jail,” in addition to community service and a suspended license. He is scheduled to be sentenced on Aug. 3.
According to the NY Post, Minaj’s mother Carol Maraj told reporters that she was “not happy” with the lenient sentencing. She said that seeing Polevich in the courtroom left her shaking thinking of her husband fighting for his life in the hospital.
In March 2021, the widow filed a $150 million lawsuit against Polevich claiming he was negligent when he hit her husband and left the scene.
Nicki Minaj, 39, broke her silence on her father’s death in May 2021. The “We Go Up” rapper wrote a lengthy letter to her fans on her website.
“Tho I can’t really bring myself to discuss the passing of my father as yet; I can say it has been the most devastating loss of my life,” she wrote. “I find myself wanting to call him all the time. More so now that he’s gone. Life is funny that way.”
“May his soul rest in paradise. He was very loved & will be very missed,” Nicki Minaj added.