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Judge tosses woman’s blood-alcohol test in I-75 wrong-way crash that killed Mason family

Posted at 9:25 AM, Jun 25, 2021
and last updated 2021-06-25 13:36:42-04

A Montgomery County judge will not allow blood-alcohol results presented as evidence against a driver charged with murder in the wrong-way Interstate 75 crash on St. Patrick’s Day 2019 that killed a Mason family of three, according to the Journal-News.

Abby Marie Michaels, 23, is scheduled to go to trial Feb. 28, 2022, in Montgomery County Common Pleas Judge Steven Dankof’s courtroom. She was indicted in July 2019 on six counts of murder, six counts of aggravated vehicular homicide and operating a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol in the March 17 crash that killed Tommy and Karen Thompson and their 10-year-old daughter, Tessa.

Her attorney filed a motion to suppress evidence, including alcohol test results and a search of her car.

“Were this court to permit introduction of Ms. Michaels’ so-called blood-alcohol findings, this court would guarantee the admission of junk, forensic science at trial,” Dankof wrote in his ruling issued Thursday.

The judge determined there were major flaws with statements made by former Moraine police officer Steven Harrison’s affidavit to Kettering Municipal Court Judge Steven Long in a request for a him to sign a warrant for the search and blood test. The judge also found irregularities in the way the blood sample was collected and handled before testing.

“The balance of Ofc. Harrison’s statements in the affidavit are patently false, utterly misleading, and this court finds, as a matter of fact, that they were made with a complete disregard for the truth and for the purpose of misleading Judge Long into signing the warrant,” Dankof wrote.

Harrison stated that Michaels, of Xenia, had a strong odor of an alcoholic beverage after the crash and that she “was aspirating beer.” A Moraine paramedic testified that he only noted an odor of alcohol coming from vomit after she was intubated; however, he admitted that from the odor there was no way to detect its concentration nor whether she was intoxicated. Harrison also described a plastic-handled Fireball Whisky logo bucket as a cup containing an unknown liquid when it was not a drinking container and did not contain any liquids, the judge stated.

Harrison has since resigned from the department.