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Off-duty N.J. officer fatally struck pedestrian, put body in car and went home, prosecutor says


New Jersey State Police arrived to find the pedestrian dead in the back seat of the car

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An off-duty New Jersey police officer ran down and killed a pedestrian on the highway, drove the victim’s body home, then returned to the scene with the dead man in his back seat, state prosecutors allege.

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Louis Santiago, 25, was driving on the Garden State Parkway on Nov. 1 when he fatally struck Damian Dymka, a 29-year-old nurse, with his 2005 Honda Accord, around 3 a.m., said New Jersey police.

Santiago was travelling northbound near exit 151 along with 25-year-old passenger Albert Guzman of Newark when he drifted toward the right shoulder and struck Dymka, killing him. Neither man called 911 for medical help nor stopped the car to render any assistance, said prosecutors.

However, the men allegedly returned to the scene ‘multiple times,’ deciding finally to transport Dymka to Santiago’s home, located nearby in Bloomfield.

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Santiago, with his mother Annette and Guzman, discussed what to do before he eventually returned to the scene yet again. His father, who is a Newark police lieutenant, called 911 to report the incident, said the prosecutor’s office.

New Jersey State Police arrived to find Dymka dead in the back seat of the Honda, said police.

Santiago was arrested and charged with reckless driving, vehicular homicide, desecrating human remains, tampering with physical evidence and other charges that include two counts of official misconduct, said officials.

Charges against Annette, 53, and Guzman include conspiracy to desecrate human remains and hindering apprehension.



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