Drunk Cop Strikes Pedestrian, Takes Body Home in His Vehicle
He never called 9-1-1 but instead, asked his mom what to do with the body.
Newark, NJ police officer Louis Santiago allegedly struck a pedestrian with his vehicle on a parkway, left the scene with the victim’s body, and drove back to his home. The 25-year-old has been charged with desecrating human remains, reckless homicide, endangering a victim, leaving the scene of an accident, and several other charges related to the incident that occurred on Garden State Parkway on November 1, 2021.
Santiago Puts Body in Backseat of Car
Santiago allegedly struck 29-year-old Damian Z. Dymka, a nurse in Garfield, NJ, with the vehicle he was driving, reportedly a 2005 Honda Accord. Rather than call 911, he left the scene of the accident, returning to claim the victim’s body a short time later. He left, returned to the scene with the dead man’s body in his car, then left again, this time driving to his home.
Asks Mother for Advice
Once he arrived home, Santiago told his mother what happened. He asked her advice on what he should do with the man’s body. Annette looked at the dead body in the backseat of her son’s car and said “"put that body back where you hit it. Put it on the floor."
Father Calls Police; Three People Arrested
Santiago’s father, a lieutenant with the Newark Police Department, called 9-1-1 to report his son had been involved in an accident. Responding officers found Dymka’s body in the backseat of his car.
Police took Santiago into custody at that time. Toxicology reports later revealed Santiago was heavily intoxicated at the time of the accident and homicide.
A passenger in Santiago’s car at the time of the accident has also been charged. That man, 25-year-old Albert Guzman of Newark, NJ, was charged with conspiracy to desecrate human remains, hindering apprehension, tampering with physical evidence, and conspiracy to hinder apprehension. Santiago’s mother, Annette Santiago, faces the same charges.
All three posted their bail bond and were released with conditions. They currently await trial and if convicted, face 20 or more years behind bars.
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