Judge issues $3M bond for wrong-way driver accused of killing Mason family

Posted at 9:50 AM, Jul 23, 2019
and last updated 2019-07-23 09:58:01-04

The 21-year-old woman who prosecutors say deliberately drove her vehicle the wrong way into traffic on Interstate 75 and struck another vehicle, killing a family of three on St. Patrick’s Day, had her bond set at $3 million during her arraignment Tuesday, The Journal-News reported.

Abby Marie Michaels, formerly of Xenia, has been charged with six counts of murder, six counts of aggravated vehicular homicide and operating a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol.

Defense attorney Jay Adams said entered not guilty pleas for Abby Michaels, who appeared by teleconference. Adams said after court he was retained in the past 24 hours and has been dealing mostly with Michaels' family.

“Of course anytime you've got a child in custody it's got to be very hard on anybody," he said.

Authorities said Michaels was driving a white Kia when she entered the southbound lanes on I-75 from an emergency turn around in the median and sped into an oncoming Toyota Camry, occupied by husband and wife Timmy and Karen Thompson and their 10-year-old daughter Tessa, of Mason.

Michaels had been at a bar in Miamisburg that night and her blood alcohol content was above the legal limit, but the evidence shows intoxication “was not a contributing factor in this crash,” according to Montgomery County Prosecutor Mat Heck.

“This was not an accident. This defendant was upset and decided to take the action that she did,” Heck said during a news conference announcing the indictments Thursday against Michaels. “Evidence shows this defendant knew what she was doing and what she wanted to accomplish."

Heck said prior to the crash that Michaels “talked about possibly doing something like this.”

“Witnesses indicate the defendant never slowed and was actually accelerating when she struck the victims’ vehicle head-on. The victims … all lost their lives as a result of this defendant’s deliberate and outrageous actions,” Heck said.

Moraine police records indicate the crash, which occurred about 8:10 p.m. and backed up traffic for hours, involved alcohol.

Michaels had what medics described as beer “coming from her mouth” and was dressed for the Irish holiday, police records show.

Michaels crossed over the median in the area of the 49 mile marker “via the paved turnaround restricted for authorized and emergency vehicles,” according to a statement released by Moraine police.

The Journal-News is WCPO's media partner.