AdvertisementNewark Officer Hit a Pedestrian With His Car and Took Body Home,...

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

A Newark police officer has been charged with a reckless car murder after prosecutors said he hit a pedestrian with his personal car and briefly took the body home, where he discussed what to do with it with his mother.

Newark Police Officer Luis Santiago was off duty on November 1 when his Honda Accord drifted to the northbound shoulder of State Parkway around 3 a.m., the Essex County District Attorney’s Office said in a news release Wednesday. Damian Z.’s car crashed. Dimka, 29, is a nurse from Bergen County.

attributed to him…Essex County Prosecutor’s Office

The attorney general’s office said neither Mr. Santiago nor the passenger in his car, Albert Guzman, both aged 25, called 911 or provided assistance to Mr. Dimka. Instead, Mr. Santiago left and returned to the scene several times before loading the victim into a Honda and driving to his home in Bloomfield, New Jersey. The two men then discussed what to do with the body with Mr. Santiago’s mother, Annette Santiago, 53, according to the attorney general.

The Public Prosecutor’s Office said Mr. Santiago eventually returned to the scene. Mr. Santiago’s father, a lieutenant with the Newark Police Department, also called 911 to report his son had an accident.

When the state police arrived, they found Mr. Dimka’s body in the back seat of Honda.

The office added that Mr. Santiago, Mr. Guzman and Ms. Santiago were arrested, charged and released on parole.

In addition to the motorized murder, Mr. Santiago faces charges including leaving the scene of the fatal accident and endangering the injured victim and two counts of official misconduct.

Mr. Guzmán and Ms. Santiago face charges including obstruction of arrest, conspiracy to desecrate human remains and tampering with physical evidence.

News website NJ.com and The New York Post had earlier reported the accusations.

The release from the Attorney General’s Office did not name Mr. Santiago’s father, nor did it say when he called 911. It also did not say when Mr. Dimka died or why he was on Garden State Parkway’s shoulder in the middle of the night.

The Essex County District Attorney’s Office and the Newark Police Department could not be reached for comment early Thursday morning.

Mr. Dimka was a supervisor of nursing at Preakness Health Care Center in Wayne, New Jersey, according to the center’s website.

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