Driver in wrong-way crash that killed Mason family members wants tests tossed



Evidence seized against a murder defendant in a wrong-way Interstate 75 wreck that killed three Warren County family members last year was illegally obtained, defense lawyers argue.

A motion by the attorney for Abby Michaels, 22, is seeking suppress blood and urine samples taken hours after the March 17 wreck in Moraine that killed husband and wife Timmy and Karen Thompson, and their 10-year-old daughter Tessa, all of Mason.

“Because defendant’s blood sample from the hospital was obtained outside of the time frame allowed by statute (3 hours), was not properly stored (not refrigerated), and no sufficient chain of custody was maintained, the sample must be suppressed,” court documents filed this week by defense attorney Jay Adams state.

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“The state cannot establish that the blood draw was requested from defendant within two hours of operation of the vehicle and said samples were obtained within three hours of operation; in fact, the record clearly states just the opposite,” according to the motion.

Michaels, formerly of Xenia, was deliberately driving northbound in the southbound lanes of I-75, authorities said. She was indicted in July on six counts of murder, six counts of aggravated vehicular homicide and operating a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol.

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After initially entering a not guilty plea for Michaels, Adams in late August filed a motion to plead not guilty by reason of insanity. After a series of evaluations, Montgomery County Common Pleas Court Judge Steven Dankof ruled Michaels competent to stand trial.

The motion filed this week states the blood and urine samples from Michaels were part of “evidence obtained from the warrantless search and seizure.” Other information it seeks to bar from the case includes:

•Opinion and observation of officers regarding Michaels’ sobriety or alcohol level;

•Statements and “contraband taken from Michaels or caused to be taken” from her.

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Michaels has remained in the Montgomery County Jail on a $3 million bond since shortly after the indictment in the crash, which occurred about 8 p.m. near I-75’s mile marker 49, records show.

County Prosecutor Mat Heck Jr. has said Michaels deliberately drove the wrong way on I-75 after pulling over in an emergency U-Turn area on the highway near mile marker 49.

Blood-alcohol tests show Michaels was above the legal limit, police records show, but Heck said that was not a factor in the wreck.

A statement from Michaels’ estranged husband on July 8 indicated she told him “I’m going to drive backwards on I-75” just minutes before the triple-fatal crash occurred, according to Moraine Police Division records.


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