A New Jersey police officer was arrested earlier this month after allegedly hitting and killing a nurse with his vehicle, then transporting the body away from the scene before ultimately returning it.
Newark Officer Louis Santiago, 25, of Bloomfield, was off duty at the time of the incident, which occurred around 3 a.m. Nov. 1 near Exit 151 of the Garden State Parkway, the New York Post reported.
The deceased person was identified as Damian Dymka, 29, of Garfield, according to the Essex County Prosecutor’s Office.
Santiago was traveling northbound in a 2005 Honda Accord with passenger Albert Guzman, 25, when the incident occurred, the Post reported. Santiago had struck Dymka after drifting off the roadway and onto the shoulder, where Dymka was located.
Neither Santiago nor Guzman contacted 911 nor tried to assist the victim, the report said. Instead, they traveled away from the scene and back several times before loading Dymka’s body into the Accord and driving the corpse to the home of Santiago’s mother, purportedly to seek advice on how to handle the situation, according to the Post.
Ultimately they drove the body back to the accident scene, the newspaper reported. Meanwhile, Santiago’s father, a Newark police lieutenant, reported his son being in the accident. When police arrived at the scene, they found the body still inside Santiago’s vehicle after he had driven back to the site, the Post reported.
Santiago was charged with vehicular homicide, leaving the scene of a crash resulting in death, endangering an injured victim, desecrating/moving human remains, hindering one’s own apprehension, conspiracy to hinder prosecution, tampering with physical evidence, obstructing the administration of law, and two counts of official misconduct, the Post reported.
Both Guzman and Santiago’s mother, Annette Santiago, 53, were charged with conspiracy to desecrate human remains, hindering apprehension and conspiracy to hinder apprehension and tamper with physical evidence, the report said.
All three defendants were released pending further legal action, the Post reported.
Santiago was charged Nov. 18 and surrendered Tuesday to the New Jersey State Police, WABC-TV of New York City reported.
He was said to be cooperating with investigators, the report said.