Reporting Reg Chapman
MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – The father of a 6-year-old boy who was hit by a car at the airport speaks out. Zachery Drew was about to welcome his father home from a tour in Iraq when he was hit outside of Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport.
He’s being treated for a broken leg, nose and jaw, which may need reconstructive surgery, at Gillette Children’s Hospital. A 61-year-old driver was arrested with alcohol on his breath.
It was supposed to be one of the happiest days of his life.
“I was just waiting out in front of the airport for my wife and kids to pick me up,” said Sgt. Richard Drew.
Drew was on a two-week leave from his duties in Iraq and looking forward to spending time with his family.
“I was just sitting there with flowers and one of the airport security guards come up to me and asked me if I was Sgt. Drew. I said ‘Yes’ and he said ‘Well, follow me,’” Drew said.
Drew was told his son was hit by a car.
By the time he got to the green parking ramp where the accident happened, his 6-year-old son Zachery was gone. He was taken to Gillette Children’s hospital.
“My daughter, she seen it. They were all holding hands in like a little train,” Drew said.
Drew said his 5-year-old daughter told him what happened. The man driving the car turned the corner and ran over Zachery, dragging him 15 feet. He didn’t stop until he hit a concrete barrier.
Police arrested 61-year-old Tommy Rodriguez for criminal vehicular operation. In their report, officers said they smelled alcohol on his breath. Whether or not he was impaired will depend on the results of toxicology reports.
“They pulled the breathing tube out today, so he’s breathing on his own and he’s acting like a normal 6-year-old. So I’m thankful for that,” Drew said.
He said his son has a broken leg, nose and a jaw that may need reconstructive surgery. His teeth were also knocked out.
Drew said the best Christmas gift ever is knowing his son will recover from his injuries. He said he has no words for the man who caused his son’s injuries.
Drew’s two-week leave has now been extended indefinitely. He is not a part of the Minnesota National Guard.
Drew can now focus on Zachery’s recovery and making a home for him, his three other children and wife in Minnesota.
A benefit fund has been set up to help the Drew family as Zachery recovers.
“Benefit for Zachery Drew” Fund
Wings Financial Credit Union
14985 Glazier Avenue
Apple Valley, MN 55124