A Newark Police Officer struck and killed a nurse with his car and then drove the body to his mother’s house seeking advice before returning to the scene with the body, officials said on Wednesday.
Louis Santiago, 25, of Bloomfield was arrested and charged with reckless vehicular homicide, desecrating human remains and other charges after he hit and killed 29-year-old nurse Damian Dymka, of Garfieldon the Garden State Parkway, according to the Essex County Prosecutor’s Office.
Santiago’s mother, 53-year-old Annette Santiago, and passenger Albert Guzman, 25, were charged with conspiracy to desecrate human remains, hindering apprehension and conspiracy to hinder apprehension and tamper with physical evidence.
On Monday, Nov. 1 around 3 a.m. Santiago — who was off duty at the time — was driving a 2005 Honda Accord northbound on the Parkway near exit 151 when he drifted from his lane into the right shoulder and struck and killed Dymka, prosecutors said.
Neither Santiago nor Guzman called 911 or tried to assist the man, officials said, but returned to the scene multiple times before Santiago loaded Dymka’s body into his car. The two drove to Santiago’s home in Bloomfield, where they discussed what to do with the body.
Santiago then returned to the scene as his father — a lieutenant in the Newark Police Department — called 911 and reported that his son was in an accident. Police arrived and found Dymka’s dead body in the back seat of the Accord.
In addition to vehicular homicide, Santiago’s additionally charged with 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.
All three have been released with conditions, according to the Prosecutor’s office.