UPDATED 2/17, 4:05 p.m. ET: The driver who allegedly killed Nicki Minaj’s father in a Long Island hit-and-run turned himself in to police on Wednesday. Charles Polevich, age 70, was subsequently arrested and charged with leaving the scene of a fatal accident and tampering with evidence. At his arraignment he pleaded not guilty.
Carol Maraj, Nicki’s mother and the estranged wife of Robert Maraj, told Newsday, “I’m very, very, very happy about the arrest.” She said Robert’s children are all “pleased” about the arrest.
“He’s absolutely aware of what happened,” Nassau County Det. Lt. John Fitzpatrick said of the alleged hit-and-run. “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 and went home and secreted his vehicle.”
“We kind of tracked it right to his house,” Fitzpatrick said of Polevich’s easily identifiable 1992 white Volvo station wagon. He detailed the concealment efforts as such: “Secreted it in the garage, covered it up, did things to alter us discovering that car.”
CBS New York reports that if Polevich hadn’t left the scene, he may have avoided charges. His attorney Michael Scotto “described it as a tragic accident, adding their thoughts are with the Minaj family,” the outlet writes. Law enforcement said the man has no criminal record.
Polevich was let out on $250,000 bond; though he’s a homeowner in Long Island’s Mineola, he lives in Guam and was therefore ordered to surrender his passport and remain in the state.
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According to Nassau County Police, Maraj was walking between Roslyn Road and Raff Avenue at around 6 p.m. Friday, when he was hit by a vehicle that immediately fled the scene. He was rushed to a nearby hospital where he passed away over the weekend.
Authorities have not yet received a meaningful description of the car from witnesses. Investigators are asking for the public’s help in identifying the vehicle.
It has been a roller coaster of emotions these last several months for Nicki. In late September, the rapper gave birth to her first child with husband Kenneth Petty. When sharing the first photo of their baby on social media, Minaj explained what becoming a mother has meant to her. “Becoming a mom is by far the most fulfilling job I’ve ever taken on,” she said. “Sending love to all the superhero mothers out there. Big hugs to all the women who have been pregnant during this challenging time.”
Minaj was also sued for $200 million by rapper Jawara Headley because she felt as though she should’ve been credited as the sole author/creator/composer/writer/producer of “Rich Sex,” the track off Nicki’s 2018 album Queen. Less than a week later, Minaj settled her copyright dispute with Tracy Chapman over the use of her 1988 song “Baby Can I Hold You” on the leaked track “Sorry.” The two sides agreed to a $450,000 payment.
Minaj has yet to make a public statement about her father’s death.