The hit-and-run driver charged in the crash that killed Nicki Minaj’s father on Long Island last year pleaded guilty on Friday — and was told by the judge he would spend no more than one year in prison, upsetting Minaj’s widowed mother.
Charles Polevich, a 71-year-old businessman, admitted in Nassau County state court to leaving Robert Maraj on the side of the road to die after he struck him while he was walking along a snowy road in Mineola in February 2021.
Polevich got out of his vehicle, looked over the injured Maraj and asked him if he was okay, before he walked back into his 1992 Volvo and drove off without calling 911, according to the criminal complaint. He drove home and parked the car in his garage and covered it with tarp.
He pleaded guilty to tampering with evidence for hiding the vehicle.
Maraj, 64, died at a hospital the next day.
Judge Howard Sturim said Friday Polevich would receive “no more than one year in jail,” in addition to community service and a suspended license. He is scheduled to be formally sentenced on Aug. 3.
Minaj’s mother Carol Maraj told reporters that she was “not happy” with the lenient sentencing. She said that seeing Polevich in the courtroom left her shaking thinking of her husband fighting for his life in the hospital.
Maraj filed a $150 million lawsuit against Polevich in March 2021 claiming the Guam-based drilling and water-purification business owner was negligent when he hit her husband and left the scene.
Prosecutor’s also disagreed with the planned sentence after seeking one to three years in prison for Polevich.
“Given the severity of the defendant’s conduct, we disagree with the sentencing commitment from the court,” Nassau County District Attorney’s office spokesperson Brendan Brosh said in a statement, obtained by the Associated Press.
Polevich’s attorney Marc Gann said the fatal hit-and-run was “out of character” for his client, and suggested he may have a medical condition that led to the accident.
“He does feel tremendous empathy for Mr. Maraj’s family and tremendous remorse for any role he played in his death,” Gann told AP by phone after court.
Minaj — who was born Onika Tanya Maraj in Trinidad and Tobago and raised in Queens — reportedly had a rocky relationship with her father, which they later reconciled.
After his death, which she called “the most devastating loss of my life” The Grammy-nominated rapper said she just wanted to pick up the phone and call him.
“I find myself wanting to call him all the time. More so now that he’s gone. Life is funny that way,” she wrote on her website after he was killed. “May his soul rest in paradise. He was very loved & will be very missed.”
With Post Wires