Michigan family of 5 killed by suspected drunk wrong-way driver

LEXINGTON, Ky. — A suspected drunken driver heading the wrong way on Interstate 75 in Kentucky struck a vehicle carrying five family members from Michigan early Sunday, killing all six people, authorities said.

The southbound pickup truck being driven in the northbound lanes struck the family’s sport utility vehicle at 2:30 a.m. in Lexington. The SUV caught fire and all five occupants of that vehicle died, along with the pickup’s driver, Lexington police said in a statement.

The family from Northville, Michigan, was returning from a vacation in Florida, the Fayette County coroner’s office said.

Witness Kenneth DeGraaf told WLEX-TV the pickup truck was coming toward him prior to the fiery crash.

“I thought I was seeing something, honestly,” DeGraaf said. “He was in the center lane. I was in the center lane. I had to merge out of the way at the last second to get to the right lane. I mean, he was flying. Absolutely flying.”

A coroner’s statement identified the family members as Issam Abbas, 42; Rima Abbas, 38; Ali Abbas, 41; Isabella Abbas, 13, and Giselle Abbas, 7.

The driver of the white pickup was identified as 41-year-old Joey Lee Bailey of Georgetown. The coroner’s statement says authorities believe Bailey was driving under the influence and that toxicology tests were planned.

The interstate was shut down for several hours. The accident remains under investigation.

According to the Islamic Center of America of Dearborn, Michigan, funeral services for the family are set for Tuesday at the center.

It was the second crash in three days involving multiple deaths on Interstate 75, a bustling north-south corridor crossing the nation’s midsection from South Florida to the U.S. border with Canada. Near Gainesville, Florida, an accident Thursday on a relatively flat stretch of the interstate started between two tractor-trailers killed seven people, including five children on a trip to Walt Disney World in a church van from Marksville, Louisiana. The truck drivers also were killed and at least eight others were injured.

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