New Jersey officer faces charges after body of hit-and-run victim was found in the back seat of his car, prosecutors say

Luis Santiago, 25, was off duty when prosecutors alleged that he traveled on the right shoulder of State Parkway around 3 a.m. on November 1, and collided with nurse Damian Dimka, according to a news release from the Essex County District Attorney’s office.

Prosecutors allege that Santiago and his passenger, 25-year-old Albert Guzman, did not provide assistance or call 911, but “returned to the scene of the accident several times” before Santiago put Dimca in the car “and drives him off the scene.” release said.

The statement said Santiago then went to his home in Bloomfield, where he and Guzmán, Santiago’s mother, discussed what to do with the body.

The attorney general’s office said Santiago eventually returned to the scene.

The statement said Santiago’s father, a lieutenant with the Newark Police Department, called 911 and reported his son had an accident. “When the New Jersey State Police arrived, the victim died in the back seat of the car,” the attorney general’s office said.

Santiago was charged with reckless motor vehicle murder, desecration/moving human remains, leaving the scene of an accident resulting in death, endangering a wounded victim, tampering with physical evidence, obstructing one’s arrest, conspiracy to obstruct prosecution, obstruction of law enforcement, and two counts of misconduct, prosecutors said. the official.

Patrick Toscano, a lawyer representing Luis Santiago, told CNN, “Officer Santiago has been charged with more than 12 crimes, most of them without foundation…

Prosecutors said both Guzmán and Annette Santiago are charged with conspiracy to desecrate human remains, obstruction of arrests, conspiracy to obstruct arrest and tampering with physical evidence.

CNN has reached out to Guzman’s attorney for comment and has not been able to determine if Annette Santiago has representation.

The attorney general’s office said Luis, Annette Santiago and Guzmán “were arrested, charged and released on parole.”

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