A 70-year-old man, Charles Polevich was on Wednesday arrested over the hit-and-run death of Nicki Minaj’s father, Robert Maraj.
Charles was detained after turning himself in, Detective Lieutenant Stephen Fitzpatrick of the New York City Police Department said on Wednesday.
The 64-year-old was walking in the road when he was hit by a vehicle travelling in the same direction. According to the police, Charles stopped briefly to ask the injured man if he was OK but didn’t call for help.
Charles faces charges of leaving the scene of an incident and tampering with physical evidence in connection with the death last week of 64-year-old Robert Maraj on New York’s Long Island.
Charles Polevich | Image: Dennis A. Clark
Charles, who splits time between Long Island and Guam, where he runs an environmental consulting business, is free on bail following an arraignment in Nassau County court. As a result of his arrest, his driver’s license has been suspended, he was ordered to surrender his passport and a judge said he can’t leave the state.
“He was absolutely aware of what happened,” Nassau County Police Detective Lt. Stephen Fitzpatrick said at a news conference.
“He got out of the car and he looked at the deceased, got into his car, and made the conscious decision to leave instead of dialing 911, instead of calling an ambulance for the man,” Fitzpatrick said. “He went home and secluded the vehicle. He’s well aware of what he did.”
Charles’ lawyer, Michael Scotto, described what happened as a tragic accident and said their thoughts were with Maraj’s family.
Charles surrendered Wednesday after detectives used pieces of surveillance video to track the car involved in the crash — a white, 1992 Volvo station wagon — to Charles’ Mineola home, Fitzpatrick said.
Minaj, 38, was born Onika Tanya Maraj in Trinidad and was raised in the New York City borough of Queens. She has not made any public statement about her father’s death.
Minaj’s mother, Carol Maraj, told Newsday that the family was relieved a suspect was being charged in his death. “I’m very, very, very happy about the arrest,” she said.