Fayette County

Lawsuit filed against two Kentucky bars after family of five killed in wrong-way I-75 crash

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The relatives of a family of five that was killed on Interstate 75 in Lexington by an intoxicated wrong-way driver have filed a lawsuit against the establishments that sold him alcohol.

The Abbas family was driving home to Michigan in the early morning hours of Jan. 6 when their vehicle was struck head-on by a pickup driven by Joey Lee Bailey, 41, of Georgetown. All five members of the Abbas family and Bailey were killed in the crash.

Issam Abbas, 42; Rima Abbas, 38; and their children Ali Abbas, 14; Isabella Abbas, 13; and Giselle Abbas, 7, died of blunt-force trauma and thermal injuries, according to the Fayette County coroner’s office.

Attorneys for relatives of the Abbas family filed the suit in Fayette County Circuit Court on Tuesday. The lawsuit alleges that both Roosters Wings in Georgetown and Horseshoes Kentucky Grill & Saloon in Lexington continued to serve alcohol to Joey Lee Bailey while he was “obviously intoxicated.”

Kentucky statutes state that vendors cannot be held liable when a patron injures another person, except when “a reasonable person under the same or similar circumstances should know that the person served is already intoxicated at the time of serving.” The lawsuit filed Tuesday alleges that those serving Bailey at Horseshoes Kentucky Grill & Saloon and Roosters Wings would have known he was intoxicated.

Bailey was at Roosters Wings the night of the crash and drank at least two 22-ounce beers and three double White Russians, according to a Lexington police report cited in the lawsuit . The civil complaint goes on to say that while still intoxicated, Bailey drove to Horseshoes Kentucky Grill & Saloon, where he was served at least one beer and four double White Russians.

After he left Horseshoes, police say Bailey entered I-75 on an off-ramp and drove about six miles in the wrong direction before hitting the Abbas family’s Cadillac Escalade head-on. The coroner’s office later reported that Bailey had a blood-alcohol content of .306, almost four times the legal limit.

“To think he didn’t display to the bars a level of intoxication would be far-fetched,” said Greg Bubalo, an attorney for the Abbas family’s estate.

The attorneys in the case are seeking compensation for injuries and damages to the Abbas family, as well as punitive damages against Horseshoes Kentucky Grill & Saloon, Roosters Wings and the estate of Joey Lee Bailey, according to the complaint. Bubalo said Tuesday that the family’s relatives plan to donate at least a portion of damages won to charity.

Horseshoes Kentucky Grill & Saloon was accused of over-serving Bailey and issued a show cause order by the city in February. The bar was presented with a proposed penalty by city officials in March, but no deal was reached, according to police spokeswoman Brenna Angel.