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The driver who killed Nicki Minaj‘s father in a hit-and-run accident has been sentenced to one year behind bars and his license suspended for six months.
Charles Polevich, 71, was sentenced on Wednesday after pleading guilty to leaving a scene of an accident and tampering with physical evidence – both felonies – after killing Robert Maraj, 64, in February 2021 car accident on Long Island.
He has also been ordered to pay a $5,000 fine.
The older man originally faced up to seven years, but the judge promised he wouldn’t sentence him for more than a year, according to TMZ.
The victim’s widow, Carol, told reporters she was ‘not happy’ with the planned sentence at the time. The widow, who is suing Polevich for $150million, said seeing him in court left her shaking at the memory of her husband fighting for his life in the hospital.
Prosecutors, who sought a one-to-three-year prison sentence, also took issue with the planned penalty.
Maraj had been walking on Long Island when Polevich hit him. He initially got out of his car and looked at the injured man on the ground, but then drove off, didn’t call 911, garaged his car and covered it with a tarp, authorities said.
The singer’s father was taken to the hospital in critical condition and died the next day.
Polevich’s lawyer, Marc Gann, previously called the hit-and-run ‘completely out of character’ for his client, who hails from Long Island, but has a drilling and water purification business in Guam.
‘He does feel tremendous empathy for Mr. Maraj’s family and tremendous remorse for any role he played in his death,’ Gann said by phone after court. He suggested that Polevich might have had a medical problem that made him not ‘fully aware of what he was doing,’ while noting that it wasn’t a legal justification.
Polevich, who spent a lot of time in Guam but has a home in Mineola, initially got out of his car, observed Maraj lying on the ground, then got back behind the wheel and drove to his home, where he then parked his Volvo in the garage and covered it up, according to police.
The Grammy award winner – who is best known for her songs Super Bass and Anaconda – had previously commented on her father’s death, writing that it was ‘the most devastating loss of my life’ on her website last year.
In interviews years ago, she described a troubled relationship with her father. But she later said he had changed.
After his death, she wrote about wishing she could pick up the phone and talk to him.
Nicki said losing her father was ‘the most devastating loss of my life’
‘He was very loved & will be very missed,’ she wrote.
Detectives used surveillance video from the neighborhood to track the vehicle involved in the hit-and-run crash to Polevich’s home in the 160 block of Roselle Street in Mineola.
Officers then offered Polevich the opportunity to surrender at police headquarters.
He was charged with leaving the scene of an auto accident and tampering with evidence.
Police said that had Polevich stayed at the scene and was not under the influence of drugs or alcohol at the time, he would have avoided criminal charges.
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