A Twin Cities man who hid his epileptic seizures from authorities and kept driving, causing a wrong-way crash that killed three members of a Bloomington family, has been sentenced to serve time in prison.
Patrick J. Hayes, 36, of Savage, was sentenced Tuesday in Hennepin County District Court to a term of eight-plus years after pleading guilty in connection with the Dec. 2, 2016, crash on Interstate 494 near Hwy. 5 in Bloomington. With credit for time in jail after his arrest, Hayes will serve the first 5½ years in prison and the balance on supervised release.
Killed in the collision 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 the 19-year-old Nord becoming a Marine, but they never made it.
Nord and her mother, Jennifer Nord, also of Richfield, survived their injuries.
"It's taken me about two years now to actually finish and write this statement," said Olivia Nord, whose comments during sentencing were recorded by KSTP-TV. "[That is] probably because I have a severe traumatic brain injury."
Hayes, arriving in court in a wheelchair and wearing jail orange, expressed in court "how truly sorry I feel about the pain and sorrow I have caused."
The criminal complaint against Hayes spells out his years of covering up his epilepsy from state licensing officials and the several traffic incidents involving him in that time.
Hayes' applications for a driver's license for the five years in Minnesota before the crash failed to reveal a medical condition or that he was taking 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 Driver and Vehicle Services 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 can have a driver's license as long as they submit a physician's statement clearing them to drive, according to the state Department of Public Safety.
Following the crash, the state first suspended Hayes' driver's license and then canceled it.
Hayes was heading west on I-494, pulled his car onto the right shoulder and began heading east on the westbound side near the 24th Avenue exit. Meanwhile, Chiodo left the airport, got on Hwy. 5 and then westbound I-494. The two vehicles soon collided.
Emergency responders at the scene gave Hayes medication for a seizure he was having. Questioned by law enforcement that night, Hayes said he was under no medical or mental health care at the time.
He said he was driving on the wrong side of the interstate because he was lost and not thinking.
Investigators uncovered three other crashes involving Hayes in the past three years:
• Aug. 17, 2016, in Bloomington, he caused an 11-vehicle crash. Witnesses described Hayes as "out of it" after the pileup, sitting behind the wheel and "acting like he was driving down the road," according to the charges.
• 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.
• On Aug. 26, 2014, in suburban Dallas, Hayes went through an intersection and hit a building during a seizure.