NJ officer was intoxicated before killing pedestrian, loading body in car: Affidavit

Newark Police Officer Louis Santiago, 25, is facing a slew of charges in connection with the crash.

Wednesday, December 1, 2021
NJ officer hit pedestrian with car, took body home: Prosecutors
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Newark officer Louis Santiago was off-duty when he drifted to the northbound shoulder of the Garden State Parkway and struck Damian Z. Dymka.

BLOOMFIELD, New Jersey (WABC) -- A New Jersey police officer accused of killing a pedestrian and then taking the victim's body to his home was allegedly driving intoxicated, according to court documents.

Newark Police Officer Louis Santiago, 25, is facing vehicular homicide, DWI and other related charges after striking a pedestrian on the Garden State Parkway, authorities said.

On Nov. 1 around 3 a.m., Santiago allegedly struck the victim with a 2005 Honda Accord he was driving and did not call 911. Instead, he allegedly left the scene of the accident, came back to the scene, placed the victim in his car and then at some point returned to the scene with the victim's dead body.

Authorities say Santiago took the body of the victim, Damian Z. Dymka, a 29-year-old nurse from Garfield in Bergen County, to his home in Bloomfield where he discussed with his mother what to do with the body.

SEE ALSO | Officer struck pedestrian then drove home with victim's body: Prosecutor

According to an affidavit of probable cause, 25-year-old Albert Guzman, of Newark, who was allegedly a passenger in the car, told Santiago's mother, 53-year-old Annette Santiago, that her son hit the victim "while driving drunk and that the body was in the Accord."

Annette Santiago then allegedly went to view the dead victim in the backseat and told her son to "put that body back where you hit it. Put it on the floor."

Police discovered the victim in the back seat of the car after Santiago's father, a lieutenant with the Newark Police Department, called 911 to report that his son had been in an accident, according to the Essex County Prosecutor's Office.

Both Albert Guzman and Annette Santiago are charged with conspiracy to desecrate human remains, hindering apprehension, and conspiracy to hinder apprehension and tamper with physical evidence.

All three were arrested, charged and released with conditions.

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