Newark Officer Hit a Pedestrian With His Car and Took Body Home, Prosecutors Say

A Newark law enforcement officer was charged with reckless vehicular homicide, prosecutors reported on Wednesday, accusing the gentleman of hitting a pedestrian with his private car and briefly having the human body household, where by he discussed with his mom what to do with it.

The officer, Louis Santiago of the Newark Law enforcement Office, was off duty when his Honda Accord drifted into the northbound shoulder of the Backyard Point out Parkway about 3 a.m. on Nov. 1, the Essex County Prosecutor’s Business mentioned in a information release issued on Wednesday. His motor vehicle struck Damian Z. Dymka, 29, a nurse from Bergen County.

Credit…Essex County Prosecutor’s Office environment

Neither Mr. Santiago nor the passenger in his motor vehicle, Albert Guzman, both 25, termed 911 or rendered aid to Mr. Dymka, the prosecutor’s place of work reported. As an alternative, Mr. Santiago drove away and returned to the scene multiple times ahead of loading the victim into the Honda and driving to the house he shared with his moms and dads in Bloomfield, N.J. The two gentlemen then talked over what to do with the physique with Mr. Santiago’s mom, Annette Santiago, 53, according to prosecutors.

“There is an allegation that he went to his household and talked to his mom, but we simply cannot comment on that since we have found no proof of that to date,” a lawyer for Mr. Santiago, Patrick P. Toscano Jr., reported in an job interview on Thursday.

The prosecutor’s place of work mentioned Mr. Santiago ultimately returned to the scene. Mr. Santiago’s father, Lt. Luis Santiago of the Newark Police Section, identified as 911 at some level to report that his son had been in an incident.

When the point out law enforcement arrived, they identified Mr. Dymka’s body in the Honda’s back again seat. He was pronounced lifeless at the scene close to 4 a.m., mentioned Katherine Carter, a spokeswoman for the prosecutor’s workplace, introducing that he experienced died of blunt force trauma.

Mr. Santiago was charged on Nov. 18, surrendered to the Condition Law enforcement on Tuesday and was arraigned the following working day, in accordance to Mr. Toscano. He claimed that Mr. Santiago experienced cooperated with the State Police.

In addition to vehicular murder, Mr. Santiago faces prices including leaving the scene of a fatal incident, endangering an hurt target and two counts of official misconduct.

“We believe that he has been tremendously overcharged listed here,” Mr. Toscano said. “There is perhaps possible lead to for two or three fees, certainly not 12 or 13.”

The Newark Police Department suspended Mr. Santiago, his law firm reported.

Mr. Toscano explained that, in the early several hours of Nov. 1, Mr. Santiago experienced lately concluded a change and was driving to a friend’s residence. Mr. Toscano said Mr. Dymka had been going for walks versus visitors in a werewolf costume, introducing that it was not distinct why he was going for walks together the freeway.

That day, the Point out Law enforcement took a blood sample from Mr. Santiago and launched him, Mr. Toscano stated, including that he experienced not viewed any evidence that his consumer experienced been drinking prior to the crash.

The Newark Police Office on Thursday referred queries to the prosecutor’s business, which directed further more issues to the Point out Police. A spokesman for the Condition Police did not promptly reply to issues about what took position in the weeks soon after Mr. Dymka died and before charges were being submitted.

Mr. Guzman and Ms. Santiago were being also arrested, charged and launched on ailments, the prosecutor’s business said.

They just about every experience expenses which includes hindering apprehension and conspiracy to desecrate human stays and tamper with physical proof.

Mr. Guzman’s attorney, Dennis Carletta, did not respond to email messages or telephone calls on Thursday. Mr. Santiago’s mom does not however have a lawyer, Mr. Toscano explained.

Ms. Carter, the spokeswoman for the prosecutor’s business, explained that Mr. Santiago’s father had not been charged and that, as of Thursday, “there’s not a basis” to file prices versus him.

Information of the rates was documented this week by the information web-site NJ.com and The New York Article.

Mr. Dymka was a nursing supervisor at the Preakness Health care Heart in Wayne, N.J., according to the center’s site. A GoFundMe website page organized just after his loss of life stated that he experienced been a nurse just before and in the course of the coronavirus pandemic.