Charges filed against wrong-way driver who killed 3 on Bloomington freeway

A 35-year-old Savage man has been charged with three counts of criminal vehicular homicide and two counts of criminal vehicular operation in connection with a December 2016 crash on Interstate 494 that killed three Bloomington residents and injured two Richfield residents.

Patrick Hayes was charged Aug. 29 in Hennepin County District Court. The crash killed Dawn Chiodo, 51, her daughter Dylan Bailey, 24, and Bailey’s 2-year-old son Payton. The crash injured Jennifer Nord, 50, of Richfield and her daughter Olivia, 19, who had flown home to Minnesota from South Carolina, where Olivia had completed Marine boot camp.

The Minnesota State Patrol’s investigation included surveillance video of Hayes’ driving and an assessment of his medical history. The criminal complaint details Hayes’ history of epileptic seizures and three car accidents during the past five years.

Hayes was driving eastbound on the westbound lanes of I-494 at approximately 8:25 p.m. Dec. 2 when his Chevrolet Malibu struck a Jeep Cherokee being driven by Chiodo. Surveillance video of the incident showed Hayes traveling westbound on I-494, pulling over onto the right shoulder of the freeway, east of the 24th Avenue exit, turning around and traveling in the opposite direction, passing several vehicles and appearing to accelerate before colliding with Chiodo’s vehicle, which was traveling westbound from Highway 5 toward I-494 west, according to the complaint.

Hayes was transported from the scene to Regions Hospital, where he was questioned about the incident. He indicated that he could not speak, so investigators asked him yes or no questions. He indicated he was not under medical care or mental health care at the time of the crash, and suggested he was lost at the time of the crash and not thinking when he turned around the wrong way, the complaint explained.

His inability to communicate was contradicted by a nurse at the hospital, who said Hayes had been speaking to her earlier in the day, the complaint noted.

The investigation included an interview of Hayes’ ex-wife, who told investigators that Hayes has a history of epileptic seizures and was taking daily medication for them. She said that he was able to move when he had seizures, but would do odd things, having once jumped off a balcony during one of his seizures, according to the complaint.

The Bloomington collision was the third Minnesota crash where Hayes had been involved in a span of less than two years. In March 2015, he was reported to have been driving in excess of 90 mph in the Savage area and weaving through traffic when he collided with a vehicle and rolled his vehicle. He fled the scene on foot, but witnesses at the scene chased him down, the complaint explained.

In August 2016, Hayes was deemed the cause of an 11-vehicle crash. Witnesses at the scene described him as being “out of it” immediately after the crash and still manipulating the steering wheel as if he was driving down the road, the complaint noted.

Hayes was also identified as the cause of a Texas crash in August 2014. The crash report indicated that he drove through an intersection and hit a building as a result of a seizure while he was driving, according to the complaint.

Investigators reviewed Hayes’ driver’s license applications from the past five years. He did not indicate he had any medical condition that might impair his ability to drive safely. His medical records indicate that he has had a seizure disorder since he was 16 and visited a neurologist days before the crash, the complaint explained.

A blood sample taken following the Bloomington crash showed one controlled substance in his system, which was administered at the scene as Hayes appeared to be having a seizure, the complaint noted.

Chiodo died at the scene, while Dylan Bailey died that evening at Hennepin County Medical Center. Her son Payton died one week later as a result of his injuries.

The Nords were hospitalized for more than two weeks and are continuing their recovery, according to the family’s Caring Bridge website.

If convicted, Hayes faces up to 10 years in prison and a $20,000 fine for each felony count of criminal vehicular homicide. He faces up to five years in prison and a $10,000 fine for his charges of criminal vehicular operation causing great bodily harm.

 

Follow Bloomington community editor Mike Hanks on Twitter at @suncurrent and on Facebook at suncurrentcentral.