According to CBS News, Charles Polevich on Friday pleaded guilty to the February 2021 accident that ended up killing Robert Maraj. The accused businessman admitted to driving off after hitting Maraj with his car in Mineola, Long Island. But he will serve at most a year in jail after pleading guilty.
Polevich was driving northbound on a Long Island road when he struck and killed Maraj, How Africa reported at the time. The 64-year-old victim was walking when he was hit. Following the incident, police said Polevich got out of his car to check on Maraj before driving off again. He neither called 911 nor attempted to help the victim.
“The defendant then exited his vehicle, stood over the victim, asked him if ‘he was ok’, walked and returned to his vehicle and fled the scene,” a criminal complaint stated.
The accused man also allegedly hid the vehicle – a white Volvo – in his home garage and covered it with a tarp, officials said. Maraj was transported to a hospital in critical condition, but he gave up the ghost the next day. Polevich admitted to tampering with evidence by hiding the vehicle, CBS News reported.
Besides being sentenced to community service and having his license suspended, Polevich would spend “no more than one year in jail,” Judge Howard Sturim said. But responding to his punishment, Maraj’s widow, Carol Maraj, said she wasn’t “happy” with the time Polevich is expected to spend behind bars. The widow, who has filed a lawsuit against Polevich, added that seeing the accused man in court gave her flashbacks of her husband’s condition at the hospital.
Prosecutors also raised issues with Polevich’s sentence. They had reportedly wanted him to receive a one-to-three-year prison sentence. “Given the severity of the defendant’s conduct, we disagree with the sentencing commitment from the court,” said Nassau County District Attorney’s office spokesperson Brendan Brosh in a statement.
Marc Gann, who is Polevich’s lawyer, claimed his client’s actions after hitting the victim and driving off were “completely out of character.” “He does feel tremendous empathy for Mr. Maraj’s family and tremendous remorse for any role he played in his death,” Gann said, adding that Polevich probably had a medical condition that caused him to not be “fully aware of what he was doing.” Gann, however, clarified that did not form any legal basis.
Nicki Minaj shared a post on her website last year saying her father’s passing was “the most devastating loss of my life.” The award-winning rapper, born Onika Tanya Maraj, also wrote that she found herself “wanting to call” her deceased father “all the time. More so now that he’s gone.”