- Robert Maraj, 64, was walking in Mineola, New York, on Feb. 12 evening when he was struck by a car driven by Charles Polevich, a 72-year-old businessman.
The driver in the 2021 hit-and-run crash that killed Nicki Minaj’s Indo-Trinidadian father Robert Maraj on Long Island, New York, has been sentenced to one year behind bars. Maraj, 64, was walking in Mineola on Feb. 12 evening when he was struck by a car driven by Charles Polevich, a 72-year-old businessman. Nassau County Judge Howard Sturim announced the jail time to Polevich who admitted to striking Maraj and leaving him on the side of a road, and tampering with evidence, the New York Post reported. Along with the sentence, “he was fined $5,000, and had his driver’s license suspended for six months,” the Post report added.
Citing court documents, the Post reported that after the crash, Polevich got out of his vehicle and asked Maraj if he was okay. He then walked back to his 1992 Volvo and drove away without calling 911. “He drove home and parked the car in his garage and covered it with tarp.”
After the sentence was announced on Aug. 3, Minaj’s mother Carol Maraj was critical of the light sentence given to Polevich. “One year? That’s a slap in the face for the family,” Carol Maraj told the judge, according to the Post. “[He] just left him on a street like a dog.”
Meanwhile, Polevich’s lawyer Marc Gann told the Post that Maraj’s autopsy report showed 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.”
Maraj, a financial executive and part-time gospel singer was of Indo-Trinidadian and Afro-Trinidadian ancestry. Minaj has had a rocky relationship with her father. She has posted photos of the two together on her social media handles. However, in several interviews, the rapper and singer has described her father as a drug addict and an abuser. After her parents moved to the United States from Trinidad, Minaj joined them two years later in Jamaica in Queens, New York. She was born Onika Tanya Maraj in Trinidad and raised in New York City.
According to Nicki Minaj Fandom page, Maraj, “sometimes credited as Omar Maraj,” began abusing drugs and alcohol during Minaj’s childhood. Minaj would sometimes return home to find her furniture pawned by her father for drug money. He once burned down the family’s house while Carol was inside, but she managed to escape unharmed. Maraj eventually went to rehab and kicked his crack addiction, and was attending church before he passed.
In previous interviews, Minaj has mentioned her father’s crack cocaine use and domestic violence. In 2010 she told Details magazine about how Maraj was allegedly abusive toward her mother, his wife Carol. “He drank a lot and did drugs, and he would get violent when he did. When he set fire to the house, he was attempting to kill my mother,” she said at the time.
In a 2015 interview with the New York Times, she admitted that her father didn’t abuse her. “I would always hear him yelling and cursing, always. And it made me feel it was the way to interact because that’s how I saw him interacting.’’
Five years later she told Rolling Stone that as a child, she “always felt like being rich would cure everything,” allowing her to take care of her mother so they could leave her father. “That was always what drove me,” she added.“I was disappointed in my father,” she said. “I was afraid, very afraid, that something would happen.”