MINNEAPOLIS (KMSP) - It was the first day of summer vacation—what was supposed to be a fun occasion for the Peltier family, marked with a trip to a park nearby their home. That morning, however, quickly turned into a nightmare and now the family is looking at legal action.
Three of the four Peltier siblings were injured when a police chase ended in tragic fashion at Bohannon Park in Minneapolis last Monday, with the suspect barreling through the playground in an SUV and striking the children. Two-year-old Kayden Peltier remains under sedation while Lillie Peltier, 4, and Kolton Peltier, 3, have returned home from the hospital.
"The next moment, I look to my rear and saw a black SUV coming towards us with sirens getting louder," said Kyle Peltier, the children's father. "First, I got my 7-month-old Millie out of the way. I pushed her out of the way, she was in the stroller. Then I went back for Kayden and Lillie, and I was too late. He already ran them over."
The driver was later identified as Kabaar Powell, 27, who now faces two felony charges for fleeing police and three misdemeanors. According to a criminal complaint, officers also found a handgun and ammunition in a search of Powell's car.
Nicole Peltier, the children's mother, was in class at St. Paul College when she heard the news.
"Something told me, 'You need to answer,'" she said. "So I answered it, and it was the most horrifying call that any mother could ever have, really."
Now begins the long road to recovery for two-year-old Kayden, who was seen in a picture released by the family's attorney attached to multiple tubes and wearing a head brace. Soon after the incident he was transferred to another hospital better equipped for his treatment. His parents said he underwent surgery Friday, and remains in critical condition.
"We have to wait to see what he’s like when he wakes up," Nicole Peltier said. "He has brain damage, but we don’t know what the extent of it is, or if he’ll ever walk again."
As the family comes to term with their new reality, their emotions range from sadness to anger--at both Powell and the Minnesota State Patrol for continuing the pursuit. The law firm retained by the Peltiers says it intends to file a suit over the department's actions in the coming days.
"The conduct of the State Patrol, in continuing this pursuit at 80 miles per hour in a residential neighborhood is reckless, it’s unconscionable and it’s a clear violation of state regulations," said Jim Schwebel of Schwebel, Geitz and Seiben.
The State Patrol is not commenting on the case because it is an active investigation--part of which, officials confirmed, is the question of whether or not the department's policies for pursuing a suspect were followed.
In the meantime, the Peltier children tell their parents they don't want to go back to Bohannon Park. Not after what happened there last week.
"Our oldest is like, 'Mommy, why were they running through the park in cars?'" Nicole Peltier said. "How do you explain that to your eight-year-old?"