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Lexington city regulators have taken the first step toward punishing a bar accused of serving alcohol to a man who drove drunk earlier this month, causing a crash that killed himself and five members of a Michigan family.
Horseshoes Kentucky Grill & Saloon, at 1987 North Broadway, was issued a show cause order Thursday by the Lexington Alcoholic Beverage Control Office, which alleges the bar sold alcoholic beverages to a patron who was under the influence.
Joey Lee Bailey, 41, of Georgetown, had apparently been drinking at Horseshoes and another bar outside Lexington before he got on Interstate 75 driving south in the northbound lanes, the city’s police department said in a news release.
Bailey’s pickup truck crashed into the Cadillac Escalade carrying the Abbas family at mile marker 107 at about 2:30 a.m. Jan. 6, killing Issam Abbas, 42; Dr. Rima Abbas, 38; and their children Ali, 14; Isabella, 13; and Giselle, 7.
Bailey’s blood alcohol level was .306 at the time of the crash, a toxicology report from the Fayette County Coroner’s Office showed.
Lexington police spokeswoman Brenna Angel said Bailey was found with receipts “that indicated that he had been drinking that night” at Horseshoes, which is near the North Broadway/Paris Pike exit where he got on I-75 before the crash.
She said police received further confirmation that he had been drinking at Horseshoes when they followed up with the bar and talked to witnesses.
The operators of the bar have been ordered to appear at a pre-hearing conference, “an informal attempt to resolve or limit the issues involved in this matter,” at 10 a.m. Feb. 19 at the Government Center on Main Street, according to a show cause order filed Thursday.
If the bar disputes the city’s allegation, a full hearing on the show cause order would be held with the Lexington ABC office. The office could choose to fine the bar or suspend its license to serve alcoholic beverages, Angel said.
She said that if the bar appeals the local ABC decision, a hearing would be held before state ABC officials.
Reached by telephone on Friday afternoon, a manager at Horseshoes read a statement saying: “This is such a horrific event with this tragic loss of life for all the families involved. We know that law enforcement is investigating the facts surrounding this, and we have cooperated with them as they have requested. We have turned this over to our representatives to have the facts determined, and we will have no more public comment at this time.”
Angel said the state ABC office is handling the investigation into the bar outside Fayette County where Bailey allegedly drank earlier that night.
Police said the truck’s event data recorder showed that Bailey had been driving 70 to 80 miles per hour when he crashed head-on into the Abbas family’s SUV. Police said several motorists told them that they passed or avoided the truck as it traveled the wrong way with one headlight out.
The Abbas family was returning home from a vacation in Florida when the crash occurred.