The man who killed pop star Nicki Minaj’s father in a hit-and-run accident last year has been sentenced to one year in jail, a duration Nicky Minaj’s mother Carol believes was “too lenient a sentence” for the culprit.
The 71-year-old Charles Polevich was given the sentence on Wednesday following the passing of Robert Maraj, 64, whom he knocked down with his Volvo on Long Island in February 2021. Polevich will also have his driver’s license suspended and must pay a $5,000 fine, according to a representative for the Nassau County Courthouse.
Polevich’s attorney Marc Gann speaking to the media following the court ruling affirmed that with recourse to the information available, his client should’ve stayed at the scene of the accident to avert the case from being treated as a “criminal matter” instead of a civil matter.
“I don’t think he was responsible for the accident, but he was certainly responsible for the conduct after leaving the scene of the accident. And it’s my belief and strong opinion that he suffered from a medical issue, I think a heart issue that resulted in his leaving the scene of the accident and not being able to recall his conduct or whereabouts thereafter,” Gann added.
Polevich admitted guilt to two felonies: fleeing the site of the crime without filing a report and tampering with physical evidence.
Nassau County Detective Lt. Stephen Fitzpatrick at a news conference shortly after the incident said; “He got out of the car, looked at the deceased, got into his car and made the conscious decision to leave instead of dialling 911 and calling an ambulance for the man. He went home and secreted his vehicle.”
Acting State Supreme Court Justice Howard Sturim told Polevich in May that he would sentence him to “no more than a year in jail,” despite the fact that prosecutors had recommended between one and three years in prison and that Polevich was facing up to 11.
Carol, Nicki’s mother and Maraj’s wife, was outraged by Sturim’s pledge and reportedly claimed she was “not satisfied” with merely one year in jail.
When Carol first saw Polevich in court, she said, “I was upset, very, very angry,” adding, “I started to shake because it brought back all the memories of that night when I was sitting in the hospital.”
Nicki Minaj reacts
Shortly after losing her father, 39-year-old Nicki Minaj stated that it was “the most devastating loss” she had ever experienced.
“Tho I can’t really bring myself to discuss the passing of my father as yet; I can say it has been the most devastating loss of my life,” she wrote on her website in May 2021. “I find myself wanting to call him all the time. More so now that he’s gone. Life is funny that way.”
$150 Million Lawsuit
In March 2021, Nicki’s mother Carol sued Polevich for $150 million. According to Carol’s attorney Ben Crump, Polevich was “not only irresponsible and negligent, but more worried about running away and hiding than getting help.”
Gann, Polevich’s attorney, stated in May that he thought his client might have experienced a “medical emergency” right away following the incident and added that he had insurance and a clean driving record.
“Mr. Polevich’s life story is one of helping others which makes this case so out of character,” Gann told Billboard, adding that; “There are no allegations of substance use or abuse as causative of his conduct and it is our belief that a medical heart issue contributed to Mr. Polevich’s conduct. Mr. Polevich could not be sorrier for the loss of Mr. Maraj.”