A Newark, New Jersey police officer faces multiple charges after prosecutors said he was involved in a hit-and-run that killed a 29-year-old nurse.
Louis Santiago, 25, was off duty when prosecutors allege he traveled on the Garden State Parkway’s right shoulder around 3 a.m. on November 1, hitting nurse Damian Dymka, according to a statement Essex County District Attorney’s Office Press Release.
Prosecutors allege that Santiago and his passenger, Albert Guzman, 25, did not provide assistance or call 911, “but returned to the scene several times” before Santiago loaded Dymka into the car “and takes him away from the stage, “says the release.
Santiago then proceeded to his home in Bloomfield, where he, Guzman and Santiago’s mother Annette Santiago discussed what to do with the body, the statement said.
Eventually, Santiago returned to the scene, the prosecutor’s office said.
Santiago’s father, who is a lieutenant in the Newark Police Department, called 911 and reported that his son was in an accident, the statement said. “When New Jersey State Police arrived, the victim was dead in the back seat of the car,” the prosecutor’s office said.
Santiago has been charged with manslaughter at the wheel of a vehicle, desecration / removal of human remains, leaving the scene of an accident resulting in death, endangering an injured victim, falsifying evidence material, obstructing his own apprehension, conspiracy to obstruct prosecution, obstructing the administration of the law and two counts of official misconduct, prosecutors said.
Patrick Toscano, the attorney representing Louis Santiago, told CNN: “Officer Santiago has been charged with more than a dozen crimes, most of which are baseless… there really was no act of intentional or reckless homicide committed by Officer Santiago at any time. “
Guzman and Annette Santiago have been charged with conspiracy to desecrate human remains, obstructing arrest and conspiracy to obstruct apprehension and falsify physical evidence, prosecutors said.
CNN has contacted Guzman’s attorney for comment and could not determine whether Annette Santiago was represented.
Louis and Annette Santiago and Guzman “have been arrested, charged and released on conditions,” the prosecutor’s office said.
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