Last December, a wrong-way driver slammed into a car on Interstate 494 near the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport, killing a two-year-old boy, his mother, and his grandmother.
Now that driver is accused of covering up a medical condition that may have led to the deadly crash.
On Tuesday, Patrick J. Hayes of Savage was charged in Hennepin County with three counts of criminal vehicular homicide, and two counts of criminal vehicular operation. This means he's facing the possibility of up to 40 years in prison if convicted on all the charges.
On the evening of Dec. 2, the 35-year-old Hayes was apparently on his way home from his ex-wife's house when he ended up driving eastbound on the westbound lanes of I-494 near Bloomington, according to the criminal complaint.
After passing several vehicles, the complaint says, he collided head-on with the Jeep carrying the victims.
All five people inside the Jeep – which was on its way back from the airport picking up a newly graduated Marine, the Pioneer Press reported – were badly hurt.
Dawn Chiodo, her 24-year-old daughter Dylan M. Bailey, and Bailey's son Payton Bailey did not survive their injuries.
Hayes was also hurt in the crash.
When police interviewed him in the hospital, Hayes said he was "lost" at the time of the accident, and "the reason he was going the wrong way on the freeway was that he was not thinking."
But investigators got a different story from his ex-wife, who told them that Hayes had a long history of epileptic seizures and was on "daily medication" because of it. Further, she said Hayes would do "odd things" during his seizures, and had even "jumped off a balcony" at one point.
Police did some additional digging and found the defendant had also been in some serious crashes – two in Minnesota and one in Texas – and had tried to flee the scene of one of them, court documents say.
They also looked into his driver's license applications for the previous five years, and found he had "never indicated that he had a condition that may impair his ability to safely operate a motor vehicle or that he uses any medication that cause a loss of control."
A blood test found the presence of one controlled substance in Hayes's body: midazolam, a medication sometimes used to treat seizures. Its side effects include sleepiness and "very bad dizziness or passing out."
According to the Star Tribune, Hayes was charged by warrant, so he is not in custody and does not yet have a scheduled court appearance.