Motorist in hit-and-run death of Nicki Minaj’s father receives 1-year sentence

MINEOLA, N.Y. — The motorist in the hit-and-run crash that killed the father of rapper Nicki Minaj in 2021 was sentenced on Wednesday to one year in jail.

>> Read more trending news

Charles Polevich, 72, must also pay a $5,000 fine and will have his driver’s license suspended, a spokesperson for the Nassau County Courthouse told People.

Polevich pleaded guilty to leaving the scene and tampering with evidence in the February 2021 incident in Mineola that killed 64-year-old Robert Maraj, The Associated Press reported.

Polevich’s attorney, Marc Gann, suggested in court that his client may have had a medical issue at the time of the crash and was not fully aware of what happened when he fled the scene, according to WABC-TV.

“This is just a tragic situation and a situation which if, I think by all accounts, if [he] had stayed at the scene of this accident, this would’ve been a civil matter, not a criminal matter at all,” Gann told People. “I don’t think he was responsible for the accident, but he was certainly responsible for the conduct after leaving the scene of the accident. And it’s my belief and strong opinion that he suffered from a medical issue, I think a heart issue, that resulted in his leaving the scene of the accident and not being able to recall his conduct or whereabouts thereafter.”

Polevich addressed the court and said that he has “been heartsick since realizing the extent of the tragedy” and that there was “no excuse” for his behavior.

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,” the AP reported.

After striking Maraj, Polevich stopped briefly to ask if the victim was OK but did not call for help, prosecutors said. Instead, Polevich went home, parked his white, 1992 Volvo station wagon in his garage and covered it with a tarp, WABC reported.

Maraj was initially listed in critical condition at an area hospital, but he was pronounced dead the following day by a hospital physician, according to a Nassau County Police Department news release.

Polevich, who had been splitting time between Long Island and Guam, surrendered to police a few days after the crash.

Brendan Brosh, a spokesperson for the Nassau County district attorney’s office, said that “given the severity of the defendant’s conduct,” prosecutors believed a stiffer sentence was warranted, according to the AP.

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

Nassau County Judge Howard Sturim said in May, when Polevich pleaded guilty, that he would get “no more than one year in jail,” WABC reported.

Minaj, 39, said her father’s death was “the most devastating loss” of her life, People reported.