Friends and relatives of a Michigan family killed in a fiery crash with a wrong-way interstate driver early Sunday in Lexington are devastated, according to media reports.
Issam Abbas, 42; Rima Abbas, 38 and their children Ali Abbas, 14; Isabella Abbas, 13; and Giselle Abbas, 7, all died of blunt-force trauma and thermal injuries when their SUV was hit around 2:30 a.m. Sunday on Interstate 75. The family was traveling home to Michigan from a Florida vacation, according to the Fayette County coroner.
The funeral for the Abbas family is scheduled for 9:30 a.m. Tuesday in Dearborn, Mich., according to the Detroit News. Visitation was scheduled for Monday night at Islamic Center of America, according to the mosque’s Facebook page. Addition prayer and commemoration services are scheduled for Thursday and Sunday.
“There is no way the family and our community can fathom this loss,” said Fayez Faraj, who told the Detroit Free Press he has been a close family friend for the past 25 years. “A beautiful family was senselessly taken away from us. The Abbas family was kind, loving, outgoing and generous. They raised three beautiful children who shared their parents love of life.”
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Rima Abbas was a well-known doctor with Beaumont Health in Michigan and her husband, Issam, was a real estate agent and lawyer in the area, according to WDIV Local 4.
Habib Abbas, Issam’s cousin, told The Detroit News he did not believe the news when he first heard it.
“You don’t expect a whole family to get wiped out. You think to yourself, ‘What’s the worst case scenario?’ and that’s it,” Habib Abbas said.
“They had a beautiful life, home and a perfect love story,” he added.
It is believed Joey Lee Bailey, 41, of Georgetown, was driving under the influence when he struck the vehicle carrying the Abbas family, according to Fayette County Coroner Gary Ginn. Toxicology results were pending, he said.
A witness to the crash, Kenneth DeGraaf, told LEX 18 Bailey’s pickup truck nearly hit him.
“I thought I was seeing something, honestly,” DeGraaf said. “He was in the center lane. I was in the center lane. I had to merge out of the way at the last second to get to the right lane. I mean, he was flying. Absolutely flying.”
Others took to social media to send condolences to those who knew the Abbas family. Executive Warren C. Evans of Wayne County, Mich., said he was heartbroken by the news.
“The Abbas family were Northville residents and active members of the community,” Evans said. “My family’s thoughts and prayers are with the Abbas family’s loved ones today as they grieve after this senseless tragedy.”
David Wood, the chief medical officer at Beaumont Health, said the hospital is devastated.
“(Rima) was a caring mother and a dedicated family practice physician,” Wood stated. “Our hearts go out to all of her family, friends and patients during this difficult time.”
Lexington police are searching for anyone who saw Bailey’s white Chevy pickup before the crash.
Witnesses are asked to call the Collision Reconstruction Unit at 859-258-3663.