Medical condition complicates investigation
Jeffery A. Hughes, 39, was driving east on Interstate 90/39 in Dane County’s Albion Township when his car drifted onto the left shoulder at 2:12 p.m. The 1999 Honda Acura struck a guardrail, became airborne and rolled several times.
Hughes, a detective with the city of Madison Police Department, was ejected from the car.
A rare medical condition is making the investigation difficult, Wisconsin State Patrol Trooper Tim Redman said.
Redman said Hughes suffers from very painful “cluster headaches.” One of the debilitating attacks could have made Hughes pass out, Redman said. Or, Hughes might have fallen asleep or simply not been paying attention, Redman said.
Redman has “pretty much ruled out” alcohol or the involvement of another car as a factor in the crash.
“It’s a tough case for me,” Redman said. “You’ve just got to hope the best for him, all the stuff he’s been going through, and all of a sudden he has to deal with this.”
Redman said it might be a week before he can interview Hughes about the crash.
The headaches started in 1992 when Hughes was an officer in Milwaukee, the Wisconsin State Journal reported in June. The problem peaked in 2005, and Hughes had up to 60 attacks a month, each lasting three to seven hours. He missed 40 percent of his scheduled work time.
The condition was improved in 2006 after Hughes had a surgery called “deep brain stimulation” at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., the State Journal reported.
Hughes was the second person in the United States to have the surgery for cluster headaches. It’s normally used to treat patients with movement disorders.