Relatives grapple with loss of Metro Detroit family of 5 killed in Kentucky crash

Abbas family hit by wrong-way driver while returning to Michigan

Abbas family. (WDIV)

NORTHVILLE, Mich. – Relatives of the Abbas family are remembering and mourning the family of five killed when a wrong-way driver struck their vehicle early Sunday in Kentucky.

The Northville family with deep ties to Dearborn was traveling on I-75 in Lexington, Kentucky, returning to Michigan from a trip to Florida when they were hit.

Issam Abbas, 42, Rima Abbas, 38, Ali Abbas, 14, Isabella Abbas, 13, and Giselle Abbas, 7, died.

The driver of the vehicle that struck them, Joey Lee Bailey, also died in the crash. The coroner believes Bailey was under the influence at the time of the crash.

Family members said the Abbas weren't even supposed to be traveling Sunday morning, but their vacation was pushed back a day. 

Rima Abbas was especially close with her only sister, Rana. They lived just blocks from each other and they would see or talk to each other every day.

Community remembers family

Rima Abbas was a well-known doctor in Garden City with Beaumont Health and the Abbas family was heavily involved in the community. Issam Abbas worked as a realtor in the area.

“We are devastated by the tragic loss of Dr. Rima Abbas, her beloved husband and children. She was a caring mother and a dedicated family practice physician. Our hearts go out to all of her family, friends and patients during this difficult time," said Dr. David Wood, Beaumont Health chief medical officer, in a statement.

A statement from Northville Public Schools was mailed out to families of students. It can be read below.

Dear Northville Families, Staff and Community members,

It is with deep sadness that we inform you of the death of a Northville family in a tragic car accident early this morning. The Abbas family was travelling home from a vacation in Florida when they were hit head on by a truck travelling the wrong way on the freeway near Lexington, Kentucky. Both parents, and their three children, Ali (8th grade), Isabella (7th grade), and Giselle (2nd grade) died in the crash. The incident remains under investigation. Our hearts go out to this grieving family and all those affected by this tremendous loss.

Please know that support systems will be in place tomorrow, particularly at Hillside and Amerman schools, as students return to school. Teachers and support staff members across the District have been informed of this loss, and will be prepared to support our students and families, and one another. Our school social workers and counselors are available to provide additional support for students and/or staff members as needed. 

You can expect that your child may be affected in some way by this tragedy, even if he or she did not know the family well. It is important to understand that children’s ability to process death varies based on their individual experiences and developmental stages. Giving your child/young adult the opportunity to express his or her thoughts and feelings is crucial in helping your child to work through the grief process. In addition to open, honest communication that normalizes your child’s feelings, providing consistency and routine can help your child cope with death. 

The attached document, Supporting Your Child After the Death of a Family Member or Friend, provided by the Coalition to Support Grieving Students, may be of assistance to you in supporting your child. Additional resources are available through the Coalition, as well as through the Dougy Center/The National Center for Grieving Children and Families.

If you believe your child may be in need of additional help from someone at school, please contact your child’s teacher and/or counselor. We are saddened by this loss and will make every effort to support your child as needed. We will be working together with students, teachers, and parents to discuss ways to recognize and honor the lives of Ali, Isabella and Giselle and their parents over the coming days. 

Visitation Monday evening, funeral Tuesday

There will be a visitation for the Abbas family at the Islamic Center of America off Ford Road in Dearborn on Monday from 6 to 8 p.m., and funeral services will be Tuesday from 9:30 a.m. to noon.

The family will be buried Tuesday at noon at the Islamic Memorial Gardens on Ann Arbor Trail in Westland.

A Fatiha prayer service will be held Thursday at 6 p.m. at the Islamic Center of America.

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About the Authors:

Priya joined WDIV-Local 4 in 2013 as a reporter and fill-in anchor. Education: B.A. in Communications/Post Grad in Advanced Journalism

Nick joined the Local 4 team in February of 2015. Prior to that he spent 6 years in Sacramento covering a long list of big stories including wildfires and earthquakes. Raised in Sterling Heights, he is no stranger to the deep history and pride Detroit has to offer.