A police officer was arrested for attempting to hide the body of a 29-year-old nurse who he struck and killed on the Garden State Parkway, authorities said.
Louis Santiago, 25, an officer in Newark, was off duty when he swerved into the right shoulder and struck Damian Z. Dymka, of Garfield, on the northbound side of the parkway near Exit 151 around 3 a.m. on Nov. 1, Acting Essex County Prosecutor Theodore N. Stephens, II said.
Neither Santiago nor his passenger, Albert Guzman, 25, of Newark, called 911 and instead, put Dymka's body in the back of Santiago's 2005 Honda Accord, Stephens said.
The pair then drove with the body to Santiago's mom's house to discuss what to do with the body, before returning to the scene, authorities said.
Santiago's dad, a Newark police lieutenant, called 911and reported his son was in an accident, Stephens said. When police arrived, Dymka's body was in the back seat of Santiago's car, authorities said.
Santiago was charged with reckless vehicular homicide, desecrating human remains, leaving the scene of 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.
Santiago's mom, Annette Santiago, 53, of Bloomfield, and Guzman were charged with conspiracy to desecrate human remains, hindering apprehension, and conspiracy to hinder apprehension and tamper with physical evidence.
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