Wrong-way driver who killed three pleads guilty


A Savage man pleaded guilty to five counts in the deaths of three people in the wrong-way crash on Interstate 494 near the Minneapolis-St. Paul Airport, Hennepin County attorney Mike Freeman announced Tuesday.

Patrick Hayes, 36, pleaded guilty to all the charges against him Monday morning as a jury was about to be chosen for his trial. He pleaded guilty to three counts of criminal vehicular homicide and two counts of criminal vehicular operation in the Dec. 2, 2016 crash.

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. Prosecutors will be seeking 100 months in prison.

During his guilty plea, Hayes admitted that when he was living in Texas, he had a change in medication for his epilepsy and it made him more prone to seizures. When he moved to Minnesota, his medication was changed again and he knew that medication would still make him more prone to seizures.

He admitted it was grossly negligent, with that knowledge, to be out driving that night. He had a seizure, blacked out and does not remember the crash, he said.

The crash occurred about 8:25 p.m. Dec. 2 on Interstate 494 near Minnesota Highway 5. According to the criminal complaint, Hayes was driving his tan Chevy Malibu westbound on 494. He pulled over to the right shoulder and turned and headed eastbound in the west lane just east of the 24th Avenue exit. He traveled some distance before colliding with a blue Jeep Cherokee.

Payton Bailey, 2, was a passenger in the Jeep and died on Dec. 9. His mother, Dylan Bailey and grandmother Dawn Chiodo died the night of the crash. They all were coming from the airport where they had picked up Oliva Nord, who was returning from basic training. She and her mother, Jennifer Nord were injured in the crash.

Hayes Criminal Complaint (PDF)