A Twin Cities man concealed his history of epileptic seizures from state authorities and kept driving despite the risk until he caused a head-on crash that killed three members of a Bloomington family, according to felony charges.
Patrick J. Hayes, 35, of Savage, was charged Tuesday in Hennepin County District Court with five counts of criminal vehicular homicide or operation stemming from the Dec. 2, 2016, crash on Interstate 494 near Hwy. 5 in Bloomington. Hayes was driving on the wrong side of the interstate.
Killed were 2-year-old Payton Bailey, his mother, Dylan Bailey, 24, and his grandmother, Dawn Chiodo, 51.
They were returning from Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport after picking up Olivia Nord, of Richfield, who had just graduated from U.S. Marine boot camp in South Carolina. They were driving to a surprise party to celebrate Nord becoming a Marine, but they never made it.
Nord, 19, and Nord’s mother, Jennifer Nord, 50, also of Richfield, survived their injuries. 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.
Hayes was charged by warrant, jailed Tuesday night and is being held in lieu of $150,000 bail. He has a Sept. 28 court hearing. His attorney, Jordan Deckenbach, declined Wednesday night to comment. Should Hayes make bail and leave jail, conditions include that he not drive and must take his prescribed medications.
The complaint against Hayes spells out his years of covering up his epilepsy from state licensing officials and the several traffic incidents involving him over the years.
Hayes’ applications for a driver’s license for the past five years in Minnesota fail to reveal a medical condition or that he takes any medication that could hinder his ability to drive, according to prosecutors.
Individuals are legally required “to report an episode of loss of consciousness or [loss of] voluntary control” to the Department of Vehicle Services (DVS) when applying for a license or within 30 days of an episode while driving, according to Minnesota’s licensing regulations.
A person with epilepsy or other conditions “is able to have a driver’s license as long as they submit a physician statement clearing them to drive” to the DVS, Department of Public safety spokeswoman Megan Leonard said Wednesday.
Following the crash, the state first suspended Hayes’ driver’s license on Dec. 20 and then canceled it on Jan. 2, Leonard said. That cancellation remains in effect.
The charges in the crash near the airport relied on accounts from witnesses and traffic video to stitch together the fateful movements of the two vehicles that night:
Hayes was driving west on I-494, pulled his car over on the right shoulder and began driving east on the westbound side near the 24th Avenue exit. He passed several vehicles and accelerated at one point. Meanwhile, Chiodo left the airport, got on Hwy. 5 and then westbound I-494. The two vehicles soon collided.
At the scene, emergency responders gave Hayes medication for a seizure he was having.
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.