On Friday, the driver, Charles Polevich appeared in the Nassau County court and pleaded guilty to leaving the scene of the accident and tampering with evidence; both counts are felonies, Billboard reports.
Polevich can face up to 7 years in jail just for one felony count; however, State Supreme Court Judge Howard Sturim committed Polevich’s sentence to no more than one year in jail, including community service and suspension of his driver’s license, according to TMZ.
People state that acting State Supreme Court Justice Howard Sturim advised Polevich of the conditions of the plea deal, saying, “I’ll sentence you to no more than a year in jail,” said Justice Howard Sturim to Polevich.
“Mr. Polevich’s life story is one of helping others, which makes this case so out of character,” Polevich’s attorney Marc Gann said to Billboard. “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 more sorry for the loss of Mr. Maraj.”
Nicki’s mother, Carol Maraj, expressed her outrage at the lenient sentence, “I’m not happy with that… one year in jail. I’m not happy with that. I was angry, very, very angry. I started to shake because it brought back all the memories of that night when I was sitting in the hospital.”
Nassau County Police Department reported that Polevich stopped his vehicle to check Robert Maraj but later fled the scene without calling an ambulance. Eventually, Maraj, 64, was taken to a hospital but succumbed to his injuries hours later.
On her website, Nicki opened up about her father’s death, Robert Maraj, 64, and posted, “I can say it has been the most devastating loss of my life.” She continued in her statement that her father was loved and would be missed, TMZ reports.
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Polevich will be sentenced on August 3, according to TMZ.