The driver in the hit-and-run crash that killed Nicki Minaj’s dad on Long Island was sentenced to one year behind bars Wednesday — devastating his grieving widow, who called the punishment “a slap in the face.”
Nassau County Judge Howard Sturim handed down the county jail time to Charles Polevich, a 72-year-old businessman who admitted to striking Robert Maraj and leaving him on the side of a road in Mineola in February 2021.
“One year? That’s a slap in the face for the family,” the hip hop star’s mom, Carol Maraj, told the judge. “[He] just left him on a street like a dog.”
Polevich — who pleaded guilty to leaving the scene of an accident causing death and tampering with evidence — was also fined $5,000, and had his driver’s license suspended for six months.
The judge reprimanded Polevich for his “cold and callous reaction” to hitting Maraj, a 64-year-old electrician, and said “the criminality here was a result of the defendant leaving the scene.”
But the light sentencing came because Polevich had no prior criminal history and wasn’t under the influence of drugs or alcohol, said Sturim. He added that “his criminality… was not the cause of death.”
Prosecutors in had recommended a sentence of one to three years. Polevich will likely end up serving a reduced sentence of eight months, said his lawyer Marc Gann.
“Your Honor, this is is not a good citizen in my eyes,” Carol Maraj said. “He looked at him and left him [on the roadside]. Is that a good citizen?”
Outside the courtroom, Maraj told reporters her spouse had been packed and ready to fly to California to see “his newest grandson” — Nicki Minaj’s then 1-year-old — on the day he was killed.
“She has been very, very sad,” Maraj said of her daughter.
Wearing glasses and a somber expression, Polevich also spoke in court, offering his “sincerest apologies” to the victim’s family.
“I feel deep sadness and remorse for the loss of Robert Maraj’s life.
“I feel compassion for his wife, Mrs. Maraj and [his] family. I had no malicious intent,” he said. “I completely accept responsibility for my actions.”
After the crash last year, Polevich got out of his vehicle and asked Maraj if he was okay before walking back into his 1992 Volvo and driving away without calling 911, according to the criminal complaint.
He drove home and parked the car in his garage and covered it with tarp.
Polevich’s attorney said after the hearing that the autopsy report showed Maraj had alcohol in his system when he died.
“I don’t want to disparage anybody but there were substances in the autopsy report that Mr. Maraj appears to have been under the influence of at the time of the accident,” Gann told The Post, adding, “I’m not saying that minimizes Mr. Polevich’s criminal conduct or criminal responsibility.”