Driver in Fatal Lowell Crash Deemed to Have Had ‘Medical Issue,’ Not Intoxicated

By Rachel Lorenz

The 51-year-old man who had a medical episode while driving on 32nd Avenue and Lowell Boulevard and crashed into a car that left one dead and a young girl injured in 2021 recently had his license revoked for a year, but he will not serve jail time.

Patrick Layden pleaded guilty Oct. 24 to one count of careless driving resulting in death and one count of careless driving causing bodily injury in the April 10, 2021, crash in West Highland. The incident killed 46-yearold Bradley Brubaker and sent his young daughter to the hospital with serious injuries.

Layden received 12 points against his driving record, and his license was immediately revoked for one year, the Denver District Attorney’s Office reported. The DA said evidence indicated that Layden was experiencing an unforeseen medical issue at the time of the accident and that neither drugs nor alcohol were a factor. It is the DA office’s policy not to disclose medical information, DA spokesperson Carolyn Tyler said.

Layden was originally charged with two counts of first-degree assault, one count of vehicular homicide, and one count of vehicular assault. Prosecutors alleged that before hitting the vehicle driven by Brubaker, Layden was speeding, crossed double yellow lines, and ran a red light, the DA’s office said in a release dated April 27, 2021.

The impact of the crash moved Layden and Brubaker’s vehicles out of the intersection and down West 32 Avenue where they then struck seven other vehicles, according to the arrest affidavit for Layden.

Based on sentencing ranges for the original charges, Layden could have faced significant jail time if he had been found guilty on all counts. But the DA’s office did not think they could get a jury to reach a guilty verdict on those charges.

“We have an ethical obligation to only pursue cases if we believe a jury will convict,” Tyler told The Denver North Star. “In this case, we did not believe we could meet that threshold because of the unforeseen medical issue Mr. Layden was experiencing.”

Instead, the DA reached a deal in which Layden pleaded guilty to lesser charges. Careless driving, according to Colorado law, is driving in an “imprudent manner, without due regard for the width, grade, curves, corners, traffic, and use of the streets and highways and all other attendant circumstances.”

In a statement reported by Fox 31, the Brubaker family said: “The explanation of why a plea was accepted was oversimplified. Patrick Layden was observed having a medical emergency by first responders five minutes after the crash. It is unclear if the crash caused the medical emergency, or if it started in advance of the 80 mph impact. Our family and community will never know the truth.”

Some local residents said the sentencing was too lenient.

“I think everyone thinks it’s a miscarriage of justice,” said Annie Mullens, who witnessed the accident while walking to work on that Saturday. Three days after the settlement was announced, Cassidy Hobon, manager at Happy Bake Shop on West 32nd Avenue, remembered the day of the accident.

A fellow employee’s car parked on the street outside of the store was hit and the business shut down for the rest of the day, she said. Hobon said she was frustrated that Layden will not serve any time in jail.

Hobon said she would like clarification on the role Layden’s medical condition played in the crash. According to court records, Layden has one DUI arrest on his Colorado record from March 2000. Layden’s attorney did not respond to requests for comment.


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