Home U.S Driver arrested in alleged hit-and-run death of rapper Nicki Minaj's father

Driver arrested in alleged hit-and-run death of rapper Nicki Minaj's father

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A man was arrested Wednesday in connection to the death of rapper Nicki Minaj’s father.

The musician’s father, Robert Maraj, was walking along a road in Mineola on Long Island at 6:15 p.m. Friday when he was hit by a car that kept going, Nassau County police said.

Charles Polevich, 70, faces charges of leaving the scene of an incident and tampering with physical evidence in connection with the death last week of 64-year-old Robert Maraj on New York’s Long Island.

He reportedly only briefly stopped to ask Maraj if he was OK but didn’t call for help. 

Polevich, who splits time between Long Island and Guam, is free on bail following an arraignment in Nassau County court. As a result of his arrest, his driver’s license has been suspended, he was ordered to surrender his passport and a judge said he can’t leave the state.

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“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 said. “He went home and secluded the vehicle. He’s well aware of what he did.”

The 64-year-old father of rapper Nicki Minaj has died after being struck by a hit-and-run driver in New York, police said. Robert Maraj was walking along a road in Mineola on Long Island at 6:15 p.m. Friday when he was hit by a car that kept going, Nassau County police said.

The 64-year-old father of rapper Nicki Minaj has died after being struck by a hit-and-run driver in New York, police said. Robert Maraj was walking along a road in Mineola on Long Island at 6:15 p.m. Friday when he was hit by a car that kept going, Nassau County police said.
(Matt Sayles/Invision/AP, File)

A message seeking comment was left with Polevich’s lawyer.

Maraj was taken to a hospital and pronounced dead on Saturday, Feb. 13. 

Polevich exited his car after hitting Maraj, stood over him and asked if he was OK before walking back to his car and fleeing the scene, police said. Polevich went home and parked his car in a detached garage in an attempt to conceal it from view, police said.

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Polevich surrendered Wednesday after detectives used pieces of surveillance video to track the car involved in the crash — a white, 1992 Volvo station wagon — to Polevich’s Mineola home, Fitzpatrick said.

Minaj, 38, was born Onika Tanya Maraj in Trinidad and was raised in the New York City borough of Queens. She has not made any public statement about her father’s death.

Minaj has spoken in the past about having a strained relationship with her father.

In interviews, she said Robert Maraj suffered from drug addiction and was abusive toward her mother, once setting fire to their house with her inside.

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Minaj referenced her father in the 2008 song, “Autobiography,” rapping: “They shoulda thrown the book at you, ’cause I hate you so much that it burn when I look at you.”

Robert Maraj called his daughter’s claims “exaggerated.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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