A Savage man who concealed his history of epileptic seizures from state authorities and kept driving despite the risk pleaded guilty to criminal vehicular homicide for a December 2016 crash where he drove the wrong way in an eastbound lane, killing three people.
Patrick Hayes, 36, pleaded guilty to all five criminal counts against him, averting a trial that was scheduled to begin with jury selection on Monday. He pleaded guilty to three counts of criminal vehicular homicide and two counts of criminal vehicular operation in the crash.
Prosecutors will be seeking an eight year prison sentence, according to the Hennepin County Attorney’s Office. No sentencing date was set because Hayes is scheduled to undergo a serious medical procedure. A Sept. 27 hearing was scheduled to determine when he would be well enough to be sentenced and go to prison.
During his guilty plea on Monday, Hayes stated that while living in Texas, he had a change in his medication for his epilepsy which made him more prone to seizures. After moving to Minnesota, his medication was changed again and he said he knew the medication would still make him more prone to seizures.
He acknowledged he was grossly negligent but went out driving that night. Hayes told the court that he had a seizure, blacked out and does not remember the crash.
The accident took place at 8:25 p.m. on Dec. 2 on Interstate 494 near Minnesota Hwy. 5, not far from the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport.
Hayes was driving a Chevy Malibu west on I-494, then pulled over to the right shoulder and turned and headed east on I-494 just east of the 24th Avenue exit.
He collided with a Jeep, killing Payton Bailey, 2, a passenger in that vehicle. The child’s mother, Dylan Bailey, 24, and grandmother, Dawn Chiodo, 51, died later that night from the crash.
The family was driving from the airport where they had picked up Oliva Nord, 19, who was returning from basic training. She and her mother, Jennifer Nord, 50, were injured in the accident. The death toll easily could have gone to four if Olivia Nord had not overcome “a life-threatening aortic injury from which most patients do not survive,” the criminal complaint read, citing her medical records.
Questioned by law enforcement at the hospital that night, Hayes said he was under no medical or mental health care at the time and explained that he was driving on the wrong side of the interstate because he “was lost ... not thinking,” the complaint read.
Hayes’ ex-wife told officers that Hayes was on daily medication for his many years of suffering epileptic seizures, and “he would do odd things” when stricken, the charging document continued. She recalled that once he jumped off a balcony during a seizure.
Investigators uncovered three other crashes involving Hayes in the past three years. On Aug. 17, 2016, in Bloomington, he caused an 11-vehicle crash. Witnesses described Hayes as “out of it” immediately after the pileup, sitting behind the wheel and “acting like he was driving down the road,” according to the charges.
On March 17, 2015, in Savage, Hayes was driving 90 to 100 miles per hour and weaving through traffic until he hit another car and ran. Bystanders chased him down.
On Aug. 26, 2014, in suburban Dallas, Hayes went through an intersection and hit a building “because he suffered a seizure while driving,” the complaint read.