The man accused of fatally striking Robert Maraj, the 64-year-old father of rapper Nicki Minaj, in a hit-and-run crash has been placed under arrest, Nassau County, New York police announced on Wednesday. In a press conference, they said that Charles Polevich, 71, turned himself in after he initially tried to hide his involvement. The defendant was described as a Guam resident who also has a house locally in Mineola, N.Y.
Authorities said Polevich had the opportunity to summon help after striking Maraj. He did not.
“He was absolutely aware of what happened,” Det. Steven Fitzpatrick said, according to WNYW-TV. “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. He went home and secluded the vehicle. He’s well aware of what he did.”
Police previously said that a driver struck Maraj, who was walking at the intersection of Raff Avenue and Roslyn Road in Mineola. The suspect left the scene. The victim at first survived in critical condition but was later pronounced dead at a hospital.
A 1992 white Volvo station wagon is the alleged hit-and-run vehicle.
Cops said that they found Polevich using “pieces of video” which led to the man’s Mineola home.
They also said they believe Maraj had either been walking home or to a local store at the time of the incident.
The defendant is charged with leaving the scene of an auto accident with a fatality and tampering with evidence.
Law&Crime touched base with Polevich’s attorney, Michael A. Scotto, who told us he was working on speaking to his client.
Update – February 17, 3:45 p.m.: In a follow up statement, Scotto said the incident was a tragic accident. He said that their thoughts were with the Maraj family.
[Image of Minaj via Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images for NYFW: The Shows]
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