Ohio woman, Abby Marie Michaels, who purposely drove the wrong way into traffic on Interstate 75 and struck and killed a family of three had her bond set at $3 million during her arraignment Tuesday.
The incident that landed Michaels in custody came on St. Patrick’s Day of this year, as Michaels was charged with six counts of murder, six counts of aggravated vehicular homicide and operating a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol.
The Dayton Daily News reports that Michaels’ defense attorney Jay Adams entered not guilty pleas regarding the charges.
Michaels killed a Mason, Ohio family of three, Timmy Thompson, his wife, Karen Thompson, and their 10-year-old daughter, Tessa Thompson. Michaels is originally from Xenia, Ohio but the crash happened in Moraine, Ohio a town just south of Dayton.
According to WLWT, Michaels’ husband filed for divorce two days before the crash. It is believed that events following the divorce filing led up to the crash and the death of the Thompson family.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Michaels Called Her Husband Moments before the Crash and Told Him, ‘I’m Gonna Kill Myself’
According to police records, obtained by WLWT, Michaels was quite unstable prior to her decision to drive on the wrong side of I-75. I-75 is the major interstate connecting Cincinnati and Dayton in western Ohio.
“I’m gonna kill myself,” she told her husband on the phone after he filed for divorce two days prior. This came after an exchange where Michaels tried to convince her husband to let her come over, but he denied the request as he could tell she had been drinking.
“I’m going [to] drive backwards on 75,” she said calling her husband back moments after the initial phone call. She crashed her car killing the Thompson family just after that at 8:10PM.
The crash report notes that Michaels was driving a white Kia Forte when she slammed into the Thompson’s grey Toyota Camry traveling about 65 mph in the middle-lane on I-75.
2. Timmy Thompson & His Daughter, Tessa Died at the Scene of the Crash
Timmy Thompson and his daughter Tessa died at the scene of the crash, according to the crash report. Karen was transported to Kettering Memorial Hospital where she also died.
Michaels, who was thought to have suffered serious injury was also hospitalized, per PEOPLE. She was then transported to Montgomery County Jail.
The crash report states that the two cars collided head-on. One witness told PEOPLE she saw “a white car cross the median and begin traveling northbound in the southbound. She said the car didn’t appear to be slowing down.”
Authorities said another witness also stated that Michaels was driving through oncoming traffic for about 10-15 minutes before she crashed.
3. Although Michaels’ Blood Alcohol Content Was above the Legal Limit, Authorities Say Her Intoxication Was Not a Contributing Factor to the Crash
According to the Dayton Daily News, Michaels’ blood alcohol content was not a contributing factor to the crash and the ultimate death of the Thompson family.
“This was not an accident. This defendant was upset and decided to take the action that she did,” Montgomery County Prosecutor Mat Heck said during a news conference. “Evidence shows this defendant knew what she was doing and what she wanted to accomplish.”
The evidence Heck was referring to was the phone conversations Michaels had with her husband who told authorities she was hoping to commit suicide by driving into oncoming traffic, as well as the witnesses who saw Michaels’ car accelerate throughout her stunt.
“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.
4. Although There Were Three Victims Michaels Is Being Charged with Six Counts of Murder
Michaels, who killed all three of the Thompsons, Timmy, Karen and their 10-year-old daughter Tammy, is facing six counts of murder as Ohio law states that Michaels used a deadly weapon and caused physical harm.
Assistant Prosecutor John Amos told the Dayton Daily News, that three of the charges stem from Michaels’ use of a deadly weapon (her vehicle) and the other three derive from her act of causing physical harm to the three victims.
Moraine, Ohio Detective Andy Parish told the Dayton Daily News that he hasn’t spoken to the victims’ families, but expects their reaction to the evidence to be one of devastation.
“The victims’ family is obviously devastated by what happened. Because they’ve been so upset with the situation … there haven’t been specific talks about the reaction to some of the evidence that we’ve collected since. I’m sure there’ll be a reaction to today’s news,” Parish said.
5. Michaels Almost Died from the Crash but Could Now Face Life in Prison if Convicted
According to the police report, the witness who pulled Michaels out of her vehicle after the crash could not find a pulse. The witness proceeded to perform CPR on Michaels until she started to breathe.
Another witness stayed with Michaels as the witness who saved Michaels went to try and help the Thompsons. Unfortunately, the car was damaged so badly, the witness was not able to pull Timmy Thompson from the car.
The witness was able to pull Tessa out of the car, and even found a pulse on the 10-year-old, but because of her severed arm, Tessa was unable to hold onto life before the paramedics arrived. Karen Thompson was transported to a local hospital where she later died.
If convicted on the charges, Michaels could face life in prison, according to PEOPLE.