A St. Paul man has been charged with being drunk when he ran over a 6-year-old boy who was at the Twin Cities airport to greet his father, returning home from service in Iraq.
Tommy Rodriguez, 61, told police that he had drunk 32 ounces of wine in a little over an hour earlier on the evening of Dec. 16 before driving his sport-utility vehicle over Zachery Drew at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport, according to a criminal complaint filed Thursday,
Zachery was walking across the short-term parking lot with his mother and three brothers and sisters to welcome home their dad, Army National Guard Sgt. Richard Drew, arriving from his third tour of duty in Iraq.
The boy suffered a broken leg, nose, teeth and jaw and needed surgery to repair his broken bones.
Rodriguez, with a previous conviction in Dakota County in 2004 for drunken driving, is charged with criminal vehicular operation and third-degree driving while impaired.
Witnesses told police that Rodriguez was driving too fast and that he did not slow down when he ran over Zachery and dragged the boy for several feet. Zachery rolled out from under the moving vehicle, which didn't stop until it hit a concrete wall, the complaint said.
Rodriguez told police that his global positioning device errantly led him to the airport. He said he knew the directions were wrong, but he followed them anyway.
He said he saw the family before hitting the boy, but admitted to not slowing down or steering away in order to avoid Zachery.
Rodriguez was taken to Fairview Southdale Hospital, where his blood-alcohol concentration nearly two hours after the crash measured 0.07 percent, just under the legal limit for Minnesota drivers.
He said he drank four 8-ounce glasses of wine between 6 and 7:15 that evening.
"Extrapolating backwards from the time" his blood was tested at the hospital, the complaint said, "the defendant's blood-alcohol concentration at the time of driving over the victim would have been at least 0.08 percent."
The Drews had been living in Poteau, Okla., before Minnesota native Vanessa Drew and the children moved to Coon Rapids while Richard Drew served in Iraq. The couple met when they were Marines serving earlier tours in Iraq.
The family has established a fund for those interested in making donations: "Benefit for Zachery Drew" Fund, Wings Financial Credit Union, 14985 Glazier Av., Suite 100, Apple Valley, MN 55124.
Paul Walsh • 612-673-4482