Wrong-way driver faces arraignment for crash that killed Warren County family

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

Caption
Abby Michaels, 21, is facing charges of murder, vehicular homicide, and OVI after driving the wrong way on I-675 in March and causing a head-on collision that killed a Warren County family.

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

A 21-year-old woman who prosecutors said 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, is scheduled to be arraigned in court today.

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.

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.

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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 press conference Thursday. “Evidence shows this defendant knew what she was doing and what she wanted to accomplish.”

Heck said prior to the crash, 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.

Details from the investigation about why Michaels was upset were not released. However, court records show Michaels’ husband, Kyle Pastorelle, filed for divorce just two days prior to the fatal crash. The couple married in June 2018.

Moraine Detective Andy Parish said he has not recently spoken with the victims’ families.

“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.”

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The charges come four months after the crash. Heck said it took time to wait on results from the traffic crash reconstruction, toxicology report and other factors. He said victims advocates have been in touch with the victims’ families.

“This is hard primarily for the family of the victims … There’s nothing you can say to make it better for them and especially under these circumstances,” he said.

Michaels was arrested on July 18 at a business in Washington Twp. She will be arraigned in Montgomery County Common Pleas Court. If convicted of the murder charges, Michaels faces a sentence of life in prison.

Court records do not yet show an attorney representing the defendant.

Since March, a second wrong-way fatal crash happened in the Dayton area. Ronald Myer, 53, was heading the wrong way on I-675 North when his vehicle collided with another, killing the driver, 23-year-old Paige Patrick.

That crash remains under investigation, according to Beavercreek Police Capt. Chad Lindsey.

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