Kentucky coroner: Wrong-way driver in fatal crash of Northville family was drunk

A Kentucky official says the wrong-way driver who killed a vacationing Michigan family on Interstate 75 had a blood-alcohol content more than three times the legal limit.

Fayette County Coroner Gary Ginn says in a statement that 41-year-old Joey Bailey of Georgetown had a .306 blood-alcohol content and was at fault in the crash that killed six people. The legal limit in Kentucky is .08.

Lexington police have said a pickup truck going southbound the northbound lanes struck a sport utility vehicle at 2:30 a.m. on Jan. 6 and the SUV caught fire.

The crash killed five members of the Abbas family of Northville, Michigan: 42-year-old Issam, 38-year-old Rima, 14-year-old Ali, 13-year-old Isabella and 7-year-old Giselle. Bailey also died.

In the wake of the Abbas family's deaths, Congresswoman Debbie Dingell pledged to take on drunk driving by proposing a bill that would make it mandatory to install breathalyzers on all new vehicles.

Dingell said several people came up and spoke with her when she, too, attended the service. 

"I was struck by children and grown men who came up to me in tears, asking me why we haven't done something to stop drunk driving," she said. "'Why weren't we using and mandating technology that would save lives?' and I had no good answer."

She said Congress has never had the will to "take on" drunk driving, but she wants to change that now. She said she'll be introducing the legislation soon in memory of the family.

"I know that some will say, 'This is too much of a burden; it won't work. Why should we have to do that?' Well I'm going to look them in the eye and tell them why no community should ever have to feel what our community is still feeling this week," she said. 

In 2016 alone more than 10,000 people were killed in alcohol-related crashes, Dingell stated, accounting for 28 percent of all traffic-related deaths. 

Information from the Associated Press was used in this report.