Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Mental, physical illness frame life of stabbed boy's mother, records show

LARGO — Celeste Minardi was sick for a long time before police say she tried to kill her 15-year-old son.

She had severe mood swings every day because of bipolar disorder, court records show. She was involuntarily hospitalized at least twice. A rare neuromuscular disease left her so feeble that she had trouble lifting small bags of coins, let alone working.

Minardi, who filed for bankruptcy three months ago, also wrote in court records that she was having trouble getting insurance to pay for her medication.

Her medical and mental health problems — detailed in her divorce proceedings from former Gulfport and St. Pete Beach city attorney Timothy Driscoll — shed more light on the shocking attack.

On Saturday, Minardi, 55, pulled out two knives during a supervised visit in a psychiatrist's office and began slashing at her son Bradley Driscoll, according to Largo police. She ripped open his abdomen, sliced his neck and wounded his forehead. Police say the attack was unprovoked.

The visit at the office of Dr. Ronald Knaus and Associates at 1301 Seminole Blvd. was part of a mediation agreement.

Minardi, a Dunedin resident, was arrested on an attempted murder charge.

Bradley, a St. Petersburg High freshman, was taken to Bayfront Medical Center in St. Petersburg with life-threatening injuries. The hospital could not release details about his condition Monday.

Minardi and Timothy Driscoll married in 1984 and divorced in 2005. According to court records, Minardi couldn't work because of her various ailments. Also, a back injury incurred on the job in 1986 left her with chronic back pain.

Her attorney wrote that Minardi "is unable to work at this time, and furthermore she is psychologically infirmed. She is under the care of a psychiatrist and a psychologist and takes many different medications in an attempt to manage her conditions."

A psychiatrist testified during divorce proceedings that Minardi had daily mood swings because of her bipolar disorder. Dr. Antoinette Falk also testified that Minardi had myasthenia gravis, a disorder that weakens muscles in the face and can sometimes restrict limb and neck movement.

Minardi couldn't even lift bags of coins when she worked at a bank years ago. Although she once worked as a licensed nurse, she hadn't worked in years. When she was arrested, Minardi weighed just 96 pounds even though she is 5 feet, 6 inches tall.

At the time of the divorce, Minardi was taking mood stabilizers and psychotropic drugs. But after the divorce, court records show that Minardi had trouble getting medical coverage. In 2006, she was turned down by GoldenRule, a United Healthcare company.

The reason: "history of bipolar."

Her financial picture also worsened as creditors moved to get their money back.

Three months ago, Minardi filed for Chapter 13 bankruptcy, listing assets worth $210,000 and liabilities of more than $241,000. She said her checking account held only $80, and for cash on hand she listed just $20. Her sole source of income: the $3,600 Driscoll paid her every month as alimony.

Driscoll did not respond to a message seeking comment.

As her problems worsened, Minardi began lashing out. She wrote angry notes in the margins of court documents.

In 2006, after being turned down for health coverage, she wrote: "Tim wants me to commit suicide. & 25 percent of Bipolar people commit suicide."

Times researcher Caryn Baird and Times staff writer Rita Farlow contributed to this report. Abhi Raghunathan can be reached at or (727) 893-8472.

Mental, physical illness frame life of stabbed boy's mother, records show 03/24/08 [Last modified: Friday, March 28, 2008 1:44pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Twins eventually cash in as Rays lose, fall back to .500 (w/video)

    The Heater

    MINNEAPOLIS — The Rays could only battle their way out of trouble for so long Saturday afternoon before succumbing in a 5-2 loss to the Twins.

    Minnesota Twins pitcher Adalberto Mejia, right, makes the tag at the plate on Tampa Bay Rays' Steven Souza Jr. who attempted to score on a runner's fielders' choice in the second inning of a baseball game Saturday, May 27, 2017, in Minneapolis. AP Photo/Jim Mone) MNJM103
  2. Rays Tales: The stories behind Corey Dickerson's ascension

    The Heater

    The 25 pounds DH/LF Corey Dickerson lost during the winter through diet and exercise are considered the primary reason for his ascension to one of the American League's most productive hitters, going into the weekend leading in hits, multi-hit games and total bases, and ranked in the top five in average, runs and …

    Tampa Bay Rays designated hitter Corey Dickerson (10) connects for a sac fly, scores Tampa Bay Rays first baseman Steve Pearce (28) in the fourth inning of the game between the Seattle Mariners and the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Wednesday, June 15, 2016.
  3. Gregg Allman of The Allman Brothers Band dies at age 69

    Music & Concerts

    SAVANNAH, Ga. — Music legend Gregg Allman, whose bluesy vocals and soulful touch on the Hammond B-3 organ helped propel the Allman Brothers Band to superstardom and spawn Southern rock, died Saturday, a publicist said. He was 69.

    This Oct. 13, 2011 file photo shows Gregg Allman performs at the Americana Music Association awards show in Nashville, Tenn. On Saturday, May 27, 2017, a publicist said the musician, the singer for The Allman Brothers Band, has died. (AP Photo/Joe Howell, File)
  4. Hall of Fame pitcher Jim Bunning, a former senator, dies at 85


    LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Jim Bunning, a former Hall of Fame pitcher who went on to serve in Congress, has died. He was 85.

    In this June 21, 1964 file photo, Jim Bunning of the Philadelphia Phillies pitches a perfect game against the New York Mets at Shea Stadium in New York.  The Phillies beat the Mets, 6-0.  Bunning retired all 27 batters who faced him in the first game of a doubleheader to become the first pitcher in 42 years with a perfect game in regular season play.   (AP Photo/File)
  5. Trump to decide next week whether to quit Paris climate agreement


    TAORMINA, Italy —President Donald Trump declined to endorse the Paris climate accords on Saturday, saying he would decide in the coming days whether the United States would pull out of the 195-nation agreement.

    President Donald Trump, right, arrives to a G7 session with outreach countries in Taormina, Italy, on Saturday. Climate and trade were sticking points at the two-day summit in Taormina, Sicily. (AP Photo/Salvatore Cavalli)