A 70-year-old man was arrested on Wednesday, February 17, in connection with the death of Nicki Minaj’s father, Robert Maraj, after the 68-year-old was injured in a hit-and-run and later died of his injuries.
The man stopped briefly and got out of his 1992 white Volvo station wagon to ask if Maraj was alright but did not call for help, according to police. Now, Charles Polevich faces charges for leaving the scene of an accident and tampering with physical evidence.
Polevich is reportedly free on bail after an arraignment in Nassau County court, but his driver’s license was suspended, and he was ordered to surrender his passport because he cannot leave the state of New York. Polevich reportedly owns an environmental drilling company in Guam and has a residence in the territory where he spends nine months a year.
According to his attorney, Michael Scotto, Polevich pleaded not guilty, but the attorney described it as a tragic accident and said their thoughts were with the Maraj family.
"He was absolutely aware of what happened," Nassau County Police Detective Lt. Stephen Fitzpatrick said at a news conference.
"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," Fitzpatrick noted. "He went home and secluded the vehicle. He’s well aware of what he did."
As OK! previously reported, Maraj "was struck by a northbound, undescribed, vehicle that left the scene of the accident," at approximately 6 p.m on Friday, February 12, when he went for a walk and was pronounced dead the next day.
At the time of the accident, witnesses could not give a detailed description due to Polevich fleeing.
Polevich reportedly drove home and parked his car in a detached garage to try hide it, but he surrendered on Wednesday when detectives used surveillance footage to track the car to his home.
"I’m very, very, very happy about the arrest," Minaj’s mother, Carol Maraj, told Newsday and said that all of her children are "pleased" that he was found. Minaj has been silent about her father’s passing.
Polevich does not have a criminal record, police said, and they could not verify if the driver was intoxicated when the accident happened as he fled, but based on his movements, it does not look like he was at a bar that evening.