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Father: Seizure may have led to fatal Hope Mills wreck

Posted December 14, 2009

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— The father of a driver who died in a head-on collision last week said Monday that his son's epilepsy might have led to the wreck, which also killed three other people.

Police said a Mustang driven by Tristan Hanna, 26, of Webster, N.Y., crossed the center line on Hope Mills Road on Thursday afternoon and hit an SUV carrying a family of three.

Hope Mills wreck Driver might have had seizure before wreck

Hanna, the driver of the SUV, Hien Truong, 26, and Truong's 11-month-old daughter, Hanna, died in the wreck. Hanna's girlfriend, Brooke Paquin, 32, died Saturday at New Hanover Regional Medical Center in Wilmington of the injuries she suffered in the collision.

Truong's wife, Huyen Truong, 26, was released Monday from Cape Fear Valley Medical Center.

Police said Hanna was driving an estimated 65 mph in a 45-mph zone at the time of the wreck, police said.

"The facts surrounding the accident are not at all consistent with his personality and his driving," Brendan Hanna said of his son. "He was not reckless. He was not hot-headed. He was not an emotional driver."

Tristan Hanna completed a 13-week contract as a nurse at Cape Fear Valley Medical Center last week and was headed back to his home near Rochester, N.Y., at the time of the wreck, Brendan Hanna said. Paquin, who also was a nurse, had flown down to accompany him on the 700-mile trip, he said.

"It was a perfect combination of one person completing the other," Brendan Hanna said of the couple's relationship, noting his son was quiet and Paquin was lively.

Before heading to New York, though, the couple planned to spend the night at the Wrightsville Beach home of Tristan Hanna's great-aunt, his father said. He said his son planned to propose marriage to Paquin during the trip.

Brendan Hanna said his son was treated as a child for epilepsy, but that it was under control and he hadn't suffered a seizure in years. He said the excitement about the proposal might have triggered a reaction, leading to the wreck.

"I do know how he reacts when a seizure occurs. The stiffening of his body would be consistent with the accident,” he said.

Investigators likely will never know whether Tristan Hanna suffered a seizure because no autopsy was done, police said. A toxicology report on him will be complete in the next 60 days, police said.


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  • FromClayton Dec 15, 2009

    "Investigators likely will never know whether Tristan Hanna suffered a seizure because no autopsy was done, police said."

    Dear father- I know you want to save the reputation of your son, but unless you can prove to me it was a seizure I am going with speed and carelessness took the life of a baby. Get an autoposy or deal with the public's belief that your son killed a baby due to carelessness.

  • cynic Dec 14, 2009

    @mom2three-where this accident happened the posted speed limit is marked several times- it is also like a bowl, with the accident site at the bottom of the bowl-this young man was one of 2 things; extremely reckless because as he entered the bowl, there no way to not see what is ahead of you. Or he had a seizure.
    And no, one can't punish a dead person, but mommy and daddy still need to know when their youngin has been bad, even amongst the grief. An autopsy would settle it, one way or another.

  • mom2threecld Dec 14, 2009

    djo, doesn't let him off the hook? and how to you punish a dead person?

  • mom2threecld Dec 14, 2009

    rational thinking i guess you never speed. this person lost his life too. everyone speeds from time to time. perhaps he thought is was a 55 mph area, not 45.

  • mom2threecld Dec 14, 2009

    stastics are 34% of the population have a seizure ONE time never to have another. a seizure can be brought on by ANYTHING. hormonal change, upper respiratory infection, stress, the list is endless. these statistics came from a neurologist. there are any number of health problems that could cause this type of accident. it's the sad reality of life people. people that have had a seizure within 12-18 months cannot drive.

  • TeresaBee Dec 14, 2009

    Don't forget the people with diabetes who black out while driving. They all have licenses and nothing noted on them either.

  • Poposgal Dec 14, 2009

    actually, in NC you can drive even if you have had seizures in the past and in fact are diagnosed as being epileptic. Your Physician is permitted to make that decision based on how you react to your medication. Licenses may be limited to driving to and from work only, however, statistics show that many fatal accidents happen very close to home. Seizures are not only limited to epileptics either so stereotyping isn't accurate when determining guidelines...diabetics or even non diabetics may experience seizures when blood sugars reach a critical low. And yes, it could have caused him to drive erratically and at an excessive rate of speed. Though I am curious, if I were the father I may want an autopsy done just for some closure...

  • Viewer Dec 14, 2009

    Would you like to be flown by an airline pilot with epilepsy, "under control" of course? Does the state issuing drivers permits keep track of these situations and verify the person is still seizure free? Do physicians report to DMV when someone with a drivers permit looses it? ? There should be laws to protect us.

  • itsme2002 Dec 14, 2009

    umm..anyone can black out, have a heart attack, stroke etc while driving. Does that mean nobody should have a license??? geesh people.

  • thought Dec 14, 2009

    I dated a guy who had seizures- he wanted to drive my car and I would not let him. A few nights later- he had a bad one- he told me not to tell his family, because he wanted his license back. I told him he was selfish- well that was over. I do not understand why anyone would put them self and others at risk like that. If I had to stop driving- it would be hard, but the thought of killing someone would make it worth it.