NEWARK, N.J. (TCD) -- An off-duty cop with the Newark Police Department allegedly struck and killed a pedestrian earlier this month and drove around with the victim's body in his vehicle.
According to a statement from the Essex County Prosecutor’s Office, on Nov. 1 at approximately 3 a.m., 25-year-old Louis Santiago was allegedly driving northbound on the Garden State Parkway and "failed to maintain his lane." Santiago reportedly veered onto the right shoulder and hit 29-year-old Damian Dymka. Albert Guzman, 25, was also in the car with Santiago when he allegedly hit Dymka.
The Essex County Prosecutor’s Office alleges Guzman and Santiago "returned to the scene multiple times" even though neither person called 911 or attempted to render aid. Santiago eventually put Dymka’s body into the vehicle and "removed him from the scene," according to the statement. Santiago and Guzman allegedly drove with the body to Santiago’s home in Bloomfield and had discussions with Santiago’s mother about what to do.
According to the Essex County Prosecutor’s Office, Santiago’s father, a lieutenant with the Newark Police Department, called 911 to report that Santiago had been in an accident. New Jersey State Police reportedly arrived on scene and discovered Dymka’s body in the backseat of Santiago’s Honda.
WABC-TV reports Dymka was pronounced dead at approximately 4 a.m. from blunt-force trauma.
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.
Guzman and Santiago’s mother, Annette Santiago, were charged with conspiracy to desecrate human remains, hindering apprehension, and conspiracy to hinder apprehension and tamper with physical evidence.