WASHINGTON – Michigan Rep. Debbie Dingell took to the House floor Thursday to honor a Northville family of five killed in a wrong-way crash on I-75 in Kentucky.
Lexington police said they received a report of a white pickup truck driving in the wrong direction on northbound I-75 just before 2:30 a.m. Sunday. The truck crashed into the family's SUV, causing it to catch fire.
The family members killed in the crash were 42-year-old Issam Abbas, 38-year-old Rima Abbas, 14-year-old Ali Abbas, 13-year-old Isabella Abbas and 7-year-old Giselle Abbas.
Joey Lee Bailey, 41, of Georgetown, was also killed in the crash.
The Abbas family was traveling home from a holiday trip to Florida. The coroner believes the driver of the truck was under the influence of alcohol at the time of the crash.
Rima Abbas was a well-known doctor in Garden City with Beaumont Health, and the Abbas family was heavily involved in the community. Her husband, Issam, worked as a realtor in the area.
Dingell announced on the House floor Thursday that she will be introducing legislation to crack down on drunken driving.
During the speech, she honored the Abbas family.
"In every sense of the word, they were our community," Dingell said. "The parents were born and raised in Dearborn. Rima served many as a respected doctor at Beaumont and had just been promoted to head all the doctors at the hospital. Issam had a successful career as a lawyer and real estate agent. Children -- Ali, aged 13; Isabelle, aged 12; and Giselle, aged 7 -- were gifts from God and the center of their parents' lives and so many others' in Dearborn. Their family, their very extended family, was devoted to everything that they did. Their absence stunned this community and is felt deeply and emotionally."
Dingell pledged to introduce legislation this week to reduce alcohol-impaired driving.
"I have to go home to a community that is still grieving," Dingell said. "I can’t look them in the eye unless we are really willing to try to do something. This week, I’m introducing legislation in memory of the Abbas family that would mandate all new vehicles be equipped with interlock Breathalyzer devices. This will stop intoxicated drivers from ever starting a vehicle and keep them off the roads. If we can keep one person from dying on the roads and make people think twice before getting behind the wheel when they shouldn't -- even when they are buzzed and think they’ll be OK -- then won’t we have been successful?
"Nothing will bring back the Abbas family, but their lives were too important to forget. Our community will deeply miss them, but we need to make sure that their death is not in vain. We are dedicated to their memories and others we know to try to prevent another life being lost this way senselessly."
You can watch Dingell's full speech in the video below.