An off-duty New Jersey police officer was arrested after allegedly killing a nurse with his vehicle before transporting her body away from the scene before returning it, prosecutors say.
Louis Santiago, 25, was alleged to have struck and killed nurse Damian Dymka, who was walking on the side of the Garden State Parkway at around 3 a.m. on Nov. 1, said a news release from the Essex County Prosecutor’s Office last week. Santiago surrendered several days ago, officials said.
Prosecutors said Santiago and his passenger, 25-year-old Albert Guzman, didn’t try to provide aid or call 911. They, however, “returned to the scene multiple times” and Santiago loaded Dymka into the car “and removed him from the scene,” prosecutors added. Both men were charged with Dymka’s death.
They then drove the nurse’s body to Santiago’s home in Bloomfield, where they then discussed what to do with the body, the office said.
Annette Santiago, who is Louis Santiago’s mother, was also charged in connection to the incident. Guzman and the mother were charged with “conspiracy to desecrate human remains, hindering apprehension, and conspiracy to hinder apprehension and tamper with physical evidence,” Essex County Prosecutor Theodore N. Stephens wrote.
Louis Santiago was charged with vehicular homicide, leaving the scene of a crash resulting in death, desecrating or moving human remains, evidence tampering, and numerous other charges, prosecutors said.
“These are accusations,” the prosecutor’s office added. “All defendants are presumed innocent unless and until they enter a guilty plea or are found guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.”
All three suspects were released with conditions, according to Stephens.
It’s not clear if the suspects have attorneys.