Multiple charges dismissed in deadly wrong-way crash on I-75; Trial starts today

A Montgomery County judge dismissed multiple charges against a woman accused of killing three members of a Warren County family in a wrong-way crash Interstate 75 more than four years ago.

On Friday, Judge Steven K. Dankof dismissed three counts of aggravated vehicular homicide and one count of OVI, according to Montgomery County Common Pleas Court records. Abby Marie Michaels, 25, is scheduled to go to trial today on the remaining six counts of murder and three counts of aggravated vehicular homicide.

The defense waived the jury, meaning it will be a bench trial, according to the Montgomery County Common Pleas Court records. A bench trial, also known as a trial by judge, is where a judge decides the facts of the case.

Credit: Montgomery County Jail

Credit: Montgomery County Jail

The trial has been rescheduled multiple times and was previously set to start Feb. 28, Aug. 1 and Sept. 19 of last year.

When the trial was rescheduled for June 5, Dankof wrote: “Absent extraordinary cause, no further continuances will be granted.”

In September, the defense requested a continuance to review medical records from an expert on seizure disorders and to consult a psychogenic seizure expert, according to court records.

“The state opposes the requested continuance, primarily owing to the wishes of the decedents’ family – a reason with which the Court is not unsympathetic,” Dankof wrote. “However, in order to ensure Ms. Michaels receives actual, authentic due process, this Court finds defense counsel’s argument in favor of the continuance persuasive and, therefore, the court hereby continues trial of this matter until a subsequent date as set forth below.”

Michaels is accused of using an emergency turnaround on I-75 to enter the southbound lanes before driving into an oncoming Toyota Camry on St. Patrick’s Day in 2019. The crash killed Timmy and Karen Thompson and their 10-year-old daughter, Tessa.

She reportedly was at a bar in Miamisburg earlier that day, but Montgomery County Prosecutor Mat Heck Jr. previously said Michaels knew what she was doing.

“This was not an accident,” Heck said following Michaels’ indictment in July 2019. “This defendant was upset and decided to take the action that she did,”

Dankof ruled in June 2021 Michaels’ blood-alcohol results would not be admissible in court, claiming a former Moraine police officer made false statements in an affidavit requesting a search warrant and blood-alcohol test.

“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,” he wrote.

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