The man behind the wheel of the vehicle that struck the father of Grammy-nominated rapper Nick Minaj and later fled the scene will reportedly spend less than a year behind bars for the fatal February 2021 accident. The news comes as a blow to many, including the rap star’s mother.
On Friday, May 6, Charles Polevich pleaded guilty to felony charges in a state court in Long Island’s Nassau County after admitting to leaving the scene where Robert Maraj was walking along a road in Mineola heading north between Roslyn Road and Raff Avenue around 6 p.m. local time when he was hit and killed.
Authorities told People that Polevich, who eventually turned himself in, had initially stopped and checked on the 64-year-old, noticing that he had suffered severe injuries. Instead, the businessman drove off without alerting the police. He later garaged his 1992 Volvo Station Wagon, a car described as “more distinctive than modern cars,” and covered it with a tarp,” Newsday reported.
Nassau County Detective Lt. Stephen Fitzpatrick said in a press statement that with the help of video footage from the neighboring cameras, police could trace the vehicle back to the 71-year-old’s residence. Maraj died the following day at the hospital, where he was ultimately transported. In court, Polevich admitted to purposely hiding his vehicle after leaving the crime scene.
The outlet also noted that while telling Polevich the conditions of his plea deal, acting State Supreme Court Justice Howard Sturim promised him, “I’ll sentence you to no more than a year in jail.” The businessman was initially facing up to 11 years, but he will complete community service upon his release, and his license will be suspended.
The sentencing stunned some fans on social media, including one Twitter user who shared a screenshot from an Associated Press article, writing, “Wait, ‘a year or less’ after doing THIS? He deserves so much harsher a sentence.”
Maraj’s widow, Carol Maraj, told Newsday she was “not happy” with the ruling. “I’m not happy with that… one year in jail,” she said. “I’m not happy with that. I was angry, very, very angry. I started to shake because it brought back all the memories of that night when I was sitting in the hospital.”
Carol is reportedly suing Polevich for $150 million. He will be sentenced sometime in August.